China / Society

Beijing is 'home' to more than 3m young migrant workers

( Updated: 2015-05-06 18:39

There were 3.1 million migrant workers aged between 18 and 35 in Beijing by the end of last year, according to a Youth League Committee survey, China Youth Daily reported.

The number accounts for 78 percent of the "migrant youth group", with the rest being those with a junior college degree or above. Residents without a Beijing hukou (household registration) fall into this group.

Among them 10 percent are salespeople in malls and markets, 10 percent work in industrial parks, 10 percent in the construction and security industries with the remainder doing various jobs.

The survey shows that young migrant workers rely mostly on fellow villagers. Many in the construction and security industries came to the capital with others from the same region.

Wei Zexing, a construction worker who has been in Beijing for 12 years, got job information from fellow villagers. Knowing that their building site was recruiting during Spring Festival in 2003, Wei came to the capital to work with them.

Much like him, Liu Lei who works for a supermarket, came to the city in 2001. "I knew someone in my village was in Beijing, so I just went to work with him," Liu said.

Some trust more in relatives, which is evident in the salespeople group. Cases such as renting a store with family or employers hiring relatives from rural areas are often seen in this industry.

The survey revealed that about half the group only has a junior middle school education.

Some 77 percent work in the service sector, 68 percent work more than eight hours a day and 24 percent have no days off. Wei said he worked 9.5 hours per day on average for his first job.

Due to their limited education, many have no clear future career plans. Some 33 percent in the construction and security industries are not satisfied with their lot and have low self esteem.

Yet, some have made progress. Typographer Shi Jingxu has enrolled at a junior college in Ningxia Hui autonomous region after passing a self-taught examination. He has also been promoted to be group leader supervising 50 workers. "There is still much to do to realize my dream, but I am approaching it," he said.

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