Migrant workers stay home amid labor shortage

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Migrant workers stay home

A recruiter from a clothing factory in Ruibao town, Guangzhou, holds up a poster with a list of job vacancies yesterday. 


Companies in the Pearl River Delta, the country's manufacturing heartland, are facing major labor shortages after workers are failing to return after the Spring Festival holiday.

Nearly one in 12 migrant workers is not expected to show up after the break in Guangdong province, home to some of the country's leading exporters, according to survey of leading employers.

In comparison, one in 20 did not return last year.

There are an estimated 150,000 vacancies in Guangzhou alone, compared with virtually zero last year during the depth of the global economic crisis, according to a survey by the Guangzhou Human Resource Market Service Center.

The figures are based on interviews with 270 companies, each employing more than 200 migrant workers.

Workers are said to be disillusioned with poor pay and are now finding better job opportunities near their hometowns and villages, which are benefiting from economic regeneration as a result of the stimulus package.

Huang Taozhi, 28, a migrant worker from Guizhou province in Southwest China who has worked in Guangdong for five years, said she has noticed a change of attitude among many of her fellow workers.

"Many of my friends have left Guangdong and are not coming back. They have decided to stay at home or seek better opportunities elsewhere," she said.

Huang, who earns 2,000 yuan per month making polypropylene boards for fridges, said: "Salaries are no longer attractive here. Unskilled workers with little experience can hardly save any money with the low salaries."

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