Bosses woo workers as economy recovers

 

by Han Miao

Migrant workers who used to worry about getting paid before heading home for the Spring Festival may find their status much higher now.

After the week-long national holiday, Wang Jiwan, board chairman of Qingdao’s Hengda Co., a shoe manufacturer based in eastern China’s Shandong Province, lined up with 50 senior executives at the factory gate, bowing to welcome returning workers.

It may seem odd, but he is not alone. Many companies are making every effort to attract workers and make them feel wanted. Some distributed cash ranging from 200 yuan (31.85 U.S. dollars) to 500 yuan to parents of employees who promised to come back after the holiday. Others offered a 15-percent pay raise in the new year.

Due to a lack of fixed employment contracts and rising living costs, many migrant workers who return to their hometowns for the Spring Festival don’t go back to their jobs in the city.

Labor shortages are particularly acute after the Spring Festival. However, this year is somewhat different, said Wan Zhong, manager of Wanjiashengshi, a human resource company based in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province.

Enterprises have not lost a significant number of staff. Instead, they need more employees to fulfill a larger number of orders, according to Wan.

“The 40 companies that have outsourced recruiting to us reported lower staff turnover compared with previous years. They want more workers simply because the economy has survived the crisis and they would like to expand production,” he said.

China’s economic growth quickened to 7.9 percent in the final three months of 2012 after hitting a three-year low in the third quarter, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

“This year the company has plenty of orders. Workers can soon start work once they are in place,” Hengda’s Wang said, adding that his company, which ships 40 percent of its products overseas, expects sales to increase about 30 percent in 2013 as international demand rebounds.

Most employers will scale up hiring in the first quarter this year, especially the post-Spring Festival period, since the economy rebounded in the last quarter last year, said Feng Lijuan, a human resource expert with 51job.com, China’s leading online job-hunting service provider.

Labor-intensive industries including real estate, automobile parts manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies posted a high number of recruitment requests, according to a survey conducted by 51job.com.

Meanwhile, experts said China’s economy will pick up steam this year. A report by Xiamen University said that the country’s economic growth will increase 0.43 percentage points from last year to reach 8.23 percent in 2013.

 

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