New Generation of Workers – Better Educated, Mobile and Ambitious
The demand for better pay and better conditions has put in the spotlight China’s youthful workforce. In spite of concessions, many believe they are entitled to more and shift from one plant in the same factory to the next.
At first glance, China’s current crop of blue-collar workers appears to be doing better than the previous generations. The monthly salaries are increasing as well as the working and living conditions are being improved and some firms provide services such as Internet access.
But not according to the new production team.
Hands of migrants are thought to be the most disadvantaged social class. While monthly wages are now upwards of 2500 dollars ($295), over the last few months, factories are cutting their hours of overtime drastically while increasing the requirement for daily yield. This has led to lower take-home pay, which can be barely enough to cover the cost of daily expenses.
In many instances, there are ten people sharing one living space, giving the absence of privacy for couples. Hot water is accessible, however, only for a brief amount of time.
The Institute for Contemporary Observation director Liu Kaiming agrees it is difficult to be an aspiring young professional in the present. While conditions were more difficult twenty years ago, those who worked back then received better pay and earned a higher than the average annual income. For instance, a professor at a university, for instance, earned between 200-500 dollars ($29.50 up to $73.80) each month for month, while civil servants earned around 500 dollars. The minimum wage for factory workers within Shenzhen and Dongguan, Guangdong province, was at least 200 Yuan. In addition to overtime, take-home wages reached 500 Yuan every month.
The younger generation, however, is more mobile and more likely to take a risk. They are more likely to leave their current jobs and relocate when they discover factories that offer better pay as well as benefits. Even if they are merely free meals, Internet access, or basketball courts. Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association Chairman Danny Lau said at his production plant, more than one-third or more than a hundred employees fit the description as a typical young worker who doesn’t stay for long at a single plant and shifts from one plant to the next.
They’re not just willing to grab more significant opportunities, but they’re additionally more flexible with regards to the places they’ll relocate to. They are not restricted to a particular city or province and instead move to where the better-paying jobs are.
A lot of the highly skilled workers employed at Ningbo Boda Bags Co. Ltd, For instance, were from Guangdong. They relocated to Zhejiang due to the fact that living costs in Zhejiang province are 10 to 25 percent less than those on the southern part of the coast. Security in the city of Ningbo is believed to be superior to that in Guangzhou as well as Dongguan.
There are less savory reasons.
Poor pay and working conditions aren’t the only things that force workers to leave their positions. Sometimes, personal issues can be a factor. Contrary to the older generation, the new generation isn’t as calm and is more likely to get into fights and make opposition.
“You don’t know when you’ll be informed about premarital pregnancies, and you must face the issue,” said David Wang, the sales manager at Topkin Intl Enterprises Co. Ltd. Wang used to manage a plant for Tiffany bronze sculptures and lamps but found it to be a chore and energy-intensive. The company has since been sold to a different manufacturing facility and now concentrates on trading.
Lau claimed that some workers were fired because their girlfriends or boyfriends were doing it.
Furthermore, China Center for Labor and Environment project manager David Abrahamson believes the younger group is impatient. While most employers offer the overtime requirement, it’s hard for many to be focused on assembly constantly. It is a good motive for some to search for better opportunities. For others, the constant need to be checked and penalized for mistakes could cause them to be sent packing.
“I couldn’t be able to stand watching the QC inspector, and was yelled at for making a tiny mistake,” said Huang Yemei, who was a former factory employee in Dongguan.
It’s now normal for a facility to be between 10 and 30 percent understaffed every day due to the continuous high turnover of new employees.
Need to be more
Ding Zhihing is a professor in the Central University of Finance and Economics Department of Sociology, who carried out his own research into the rural migrants in China. In the Lanzhou Academic Journal in 2009, the study showed that over 70 percent of China’s 229 million migrant workers had completed at least junior high school. Over two-thirds of the workforce is aged between 16 to 30 years old.
Because the majority of people have a higher education which is why they are often considered better educated than the older generation, Lau of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association stated that these employees are also more efficient in learning, require shorter time in order to learn the required skills, comprehend the training manuals quickly and learn about new technology on their own.
Furthermore, they are more proficient in getting information from mobile phones as well as on the Internet.
This makes them attractive to businesses. “The older guys have numerous bad practices, and are resistant to change,” said Gordon Styles, who is the director of Star Prototype China Ltd. Star Prototype China Ltd. “Also their practices aren’t the best.”
However, the reverse is also true but for specific mature industries, such as clothing or crafts, where the older workers are more highly regarded because of their years of experience.
However, higher educational achievement has a catch. Today, the younger group is looking for opportunities and responsibilities that could aid in the achievement of the long-term objectives, which are more than just sending money back for their loved ones. A student of e-commerce, Huang has left her job as an assembly line worker in Dongguan to search for jobs in sales and marketing in Shenzhen.
Abrahamson stated that these young and talented workers are more ambitious. They are not likely to work in the same place for longer than two years. Instead, they’ll try to use the knowledge and skills they’ve gained to search for more promising jobs such as sales and secretarial job opportunities. Some will even start their own company.
Additionally, China Labour Bulletin editor Geoffrey Crothall believes the new generation of migrants would like to settle in cities where they have jobs instead of in their homes. Many want that they can earn enough money to afford a home and send their kids to school, and live a good life.
In contrast to previous years, the workforce that is focused on career advancement can now find factories that provide both external and internal training. There is a very slim possibility that those who undergo training will advance to management positions, and giving them hope that they could climb the ladder of success is crucial.
However, such opportunities aren’t as prevalent. “Employers do not see the benefit in training their employees in order to make them lose their jobs,” Styles said. Styles doesn’t agree with this view, but he provides English training to his staff two times a week. Star Prototype also has foreign experts providing technical education and supervision on-site.
Young workers’ perspectives
In 1988, in the town of Yangjiang in the southwest of Guangdong province. Huang Yemei is but one of the numerous young people who have gathered at the Luohu Job Market in Shenzhen. Despite the scorching heat, she made it through the packed hall, hoping to get work from the 100 booths. It was a chance to get a job that, at a minimum, would match her qualifications. Huang is, in fact, an e-commerce student from The Yangjiang Technical School.
With the light-colored yellow shirt, she sat down with a couple of women who were of similar age and was chatting with them as well. She left a PVC file with some of her CV, which was placed on the table.
“Unless I’m forced to, I I won’t be an assembly line worker again,” Huang said, having worked in similar positions at Huizhou, Dongguan, and Shenzhen in the past. Huang found working in factories to be depressing and didn’t enjoy being criticized by line supervisors even for tiny errors.
She was socializing and spending time with colleagues of similar age. However, it was an enjoyable time. “We talked and played poker as well as went out shopping and surfing the Internet during our free moment,” Huang said. She wasn’t worried about her future, and she left her first job of assembling TV sets in the Huizhou factory because of disagreements with colleagues.
In the present, Huang feels being an assembly line worker isn’t something she could be able to do in the long run, particularly since it will not guarantee her a pleasant and secure life.
“Most employers are generally the same,” she said. Some companies might pay higher salaries, but not lodging or board. Companies that provide meals and dormitories typically offer lower wages. Others subtract the cost of food from each month’s salary.
Huang has a few acquaintances who live in Shenzhen, and that’s why she decided to test her luck in finding a job in Shenzhen’s city. However, Huang hasn’t decided which city to settle in since it is contingent on her ability to land the right job.
The ideal job would not require excessive overtime and also provide her with enough money to cover her expenses for the day and also have money to invest in other items like clothes or travel.
However, competition is fierce in the labor market. She believes that younger employees like her have an advantage over older workers because they’re better educated and eager to explore new areas of knowledge. There are plenty of them, and her age isn’t necessarily a benefit.