GUANGZHOU: Young migrant workers in Guangdong Province want better education,
more respect, and are generally more self-centered than their elders who moved
to the province one or two decades ago. They are also eager to remain as city
dwellers, a recent survey has said.
At the end of 2006, Guangdong had 93 million residents, 26 million of whom
were migrant workers. Of those, some 20 million were aged between 18 and 28, the
survey, conducted by the Guangdong Youth Research Center earlier this month,
More than 23 percent of the province's migrant workers have graduated from
colleges for professional training or have higher educational qualifications,
the survey said.
Jiang Shishan, 53, who took part in the survey, is from East China's Fujian
Province and is currently working as a cleaner in a factory in Dongguan, one of
Guangdong's main manufacturing centres.
This is his second time living in the province. In 1977, he worked as a
manual laborer to support his wife and children back home.
Jiang said he returned to be close to his daughter, who works in the city,
and to earn some money for her wedding.
However, his daughter Jiang Yanfeng, who is in her early 20s, said she was in
the city for a different reason. Her goal is to work for a State-owned company
and get a permanent residence in Dongguan.
"Then I will be a real city dweller," she said.
And instead of sending money back home, Jiang prefers to spend it on
Yang Xiaoming, 23, also took part in the survey. A native of Central China's
Hubei Province, he first worked as a motorcycle repairman in Dongguan. However,
after studying computer science, he is now a white-collar worker with a computer
A separate survey conducted by the center found that 32 percent of young
migrant workers moved to Guangdong to pursue careers in technology.
It also found that more than half the young migrants wanted to settle down in
a city, even though they would not be able to get a permanent residence and
would face many social problems.
Zheng Xinzhen, director of sociology at the Guangdong Academy of Social
Sciences, said: "The first generation came here to earn money, while the second
generation's goal is to gain experience and improve their social status."
Cai He, a social sciences professor at Sun Yat-sun University, said young
migrants were influenced by the social values of city citizens.
"They earn money for themselves, but don't want to return home. They get used
to the lifestyle," he said.
(China Daily 05/29/2007 page5)