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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Workforce shortage a structural problem

By Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)

09:34, April 16, 2012

An employment market attracts few job seekers in Jinjiang city, Fujian province, traditionally one of China's largest production bases for shoes and clothing. However, it has continued to see a shortage of labor this year, particularly of skilled workers. [Photo/China Daily]

Li Qiang, a 22-year-old migrant worker from East China's Anhui province, decided to return to Beijing from his hometown in March, but only after his boss promised to raise his daily wage from 200 yuan ($32) to 250 yuan.

Li, an interior decorator, first arrived in Beijing in 2006, following in the footsteps of a fellow villager. His monthly income, he said, has increased tenfold, from less than 800 yuan to nearly 8,000 yuan, in the past six years.

"I would still prefer to go back to my hometown and build a house there once I've saved enough money," Li said, adding he doesn't have a sense of belonging in Beijing.

Chen Han, also 22, is still striving to settle down in the capital. The college graduate has yet to secure a permanent job, despite attending more than six job fairs so far this year.

Chen said it is hard to find a good post nowadays, even though he majored in business management. Moreover, the monthly salary of 3,000 yuan offered by most recruiters is at the bottom end of his expected range and would barely be enough to allow him to survive in the city.

China's labor shortage is back in the headlines: A lack of skilled technical workers coexists with the difficulty most students and recent graduates have experienced in finding full-time employment, because few of them possess the technical skills required.

Moreover, the story has a new twist this year: With the slowdown of the country's economic growth, the pressures on businesses to recruit general laborers have eased. However, demand is still high for skilled and experienced workers.

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