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China-tackling the labor shortages that threaten to unravel development in city garmen

China-tackling the labor shortages that threaten to unravel development in city garmen Source: www.fibre2fashion.com
Date: 23-02-2013
Visits: 234
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HUGE employment advertisements hang from the garment workshops and factories that line Hangzhou's Xinye Street, beneath which are lines of interview booths.
 
The ads feature practical information, detailing jobs, pay - including tempting salaries like 10,000 yuan (US$1,601) a month for top level supervisors - and numbers of vacancies - some 1,000 workers in some factories.
 
With Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations drawing to an end, it's time for garment manufacturers in Hangzhou Heaven Economic Development Zone to once again do battle in the fight to recruit staff.
 
"We want garment workers, as many as possible," said an interviewer from View Industry Group, who identifies himself as Fang.
 
"While those with experience are preferred, inexperienced workers are also considered."
 
The group has 10 booths in front of the factory, each manned by staff from a different workshop.
 
But applicants are few. Boards state that the company is seeking 1,000 garment workers, however, Fang only hired three people on the first day. A similar situation was reported at other booths.
 
Opposite View Industry Group, Kebo Industry Company is looking to hire 500 garment workers. But a high-profile recruitment campaign started last Wednesday had led to less than 100 people being hired.
 
A similar labor shortage is also reported in Xiaoshan, Yuhang and Fuyang that are home to many garment factories.
 
In Yuhang, where a dozen of clothing manufacturers are clustered, rival interviewers can frequently be seen "fighting" over skilled technicians, topping each other's salary offers.
 
The period following Chinese Lunar New Year is always a stressful time for recruiters. They face the double pressure of some employees - mainly migrant workers - opting not to return after the Spring Festival holiday, while, on the other hand, business is growing and requiring new hands.
 
Over the past four years, the situation has became more severe, with growing numbers of migrant workers choosing to work at garment factories that have sprung up in central China, where many of them come from.
 
"Four and five years ago, there was no shortage of workers in Heaven Economic Development Zone," said Zha Caibao from Hubei Province, a workshop chief of a garment factory of Kebo Industry Company, who has worked in the zone for five years.
 
In recent visits to Hubei, Zha has found more and more garment factories springing up.
 
"Although they offer a lower salary, it's nearer home for many workers," explains Zha. "They accept the lower wages because the cost of living is cheaper back home."
 
Other workers agree. Jiang Fangcheng, from Jiangxi Province, a technician in another garment factory in the zone, said that "light industry companies are everywhere, and it's not too hard to find a job in your hometown."
 
Other veterans claim many young people who come to big cities don't see them as a place to make a long-term living.
 
"Young migrant workers work in cities to see more of the world, unlike previous generations who work in cities to make a living," said Gu Zhenghua, who runs Bei'Anda garment factory in Fuyang.
 
And as the majority of garment workers are women, other factors play a role. "Many women quit the job once they get married or pregnant," said an official from View Industry Group.
 
Faced with an alarming labor shortage, Hangzhou garment producers are offering incentives to attract staff.
 
Salary hikes are the first step. One ad offers garment workers between 3,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan a month. "The base salary is 200 yuan more than last year," an interviewer tells Shanghai Daily.
 
Staff welfare is another inducement. One factory recruiting 500 sewing workers offers a lower salary but lists attractive benefits.
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