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Migrant workers have more choice over job location

By Zhou Lihua in Wuhan and Hou Liqiang in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-20 08:16

Migrant workers have more choice over job location

Job seekers read leaflets at a fair in Huaying, Sichuan province, earlier this month. Most attendees were seeking local work rather than migrating to bigger cities.[Zhou Songlin/For China Daily]

As China transfers industries from coastal regions to inland locations, large numbers of migrant workers are being presented with more choices of where to work.

Yangxin in Hubei province has been designated a national-level poverty-stricken county. At its peak, the county produced 256,000 migrant workers, mostly for shoe factories in major manufacturing bases.

However, shoe factories are now moving to the central region.

Zhelian Shoes used to have a factory in Wenzhou, in prosperous Zhejiang province, but it moved to Yangxin in 2014. The factory now has 500 workers and last year received orders for 5 million pairs of shoes, according to human resources manager Liu Zhiyong.

The company, which plans to recruit another 1,200 workers this year, is one of at least seven similarly sized shoe factories in Yangxin.

Liu said 90 percent of his company's employees are locals who used to travel far away for work, including himself.

"I worked out of town for 13 years. I have a 3-year-old daughter and my son was born last year-I don't want them to be left-behind children. I could have taken my children to Wenzhou, but then I would have had to hire someone to care of them," the 35-year-old said.

Liu added that although he made 10,000 yuan ($1,460) per month, double his current salary, in Wenzhou, he decided to return to Yangxin.

Zhelian Shoes only requires its employees to be under 50 years old, he said, adding that 130 of the 200 workers his company wants to recruit in the short-term are skilled, with a monthly wage of more than 6,000 yuan.

Fang Youcheng, a man in his 40s from Hubei, has worked in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, for more than 20 years as a decorator. He visited a job fair in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Feb 7 and plans to settle down in the city.

"In general, migrant workers are treated better now. My salary is not my main concern. I care more about my working and living conditions," Fang said. "Salaries are high in Guangdong, but so is the cost of living, which makes me feel like I don't belong there."

"There are a lot of ways to find jobs now. Many companies at the job fair were offering decent salaries and living conditions, including free food and accommodation. I want to take my time to compare the offers and choose carefully," he said.

Zhang Li contributed to this story.

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