Business / Economy

Changing face of Chinese worker

Updated: 2014-04-30 08:58 (China Daily)

Editor's Note: In a May Day special coverage, we profile what impact rising wages and changing demographics are having on the country.

Changing face of Chinese worker

The dream and reality for young Chinese workers

"When I look at other people using iPhones, I think to myself, I probably made that one."

Jiang is an avid fan of South Korean TV dramas. She loves reading. She misses her aging parents, but says her life was "going nowhere" back home. >>>>


Changing face of Chinese worker

In education, vocation is lesson

Foxconn, other manufacturing giants, and several prominent academics have added their voice to a growing call for more Chinese students to learn practical skills-based vocational training.

Foxconn's Chinese mainland spokesman, Liu Kun, says the mass producer of products for popular brands including Apple is being forced to act as a de-facto training center for young, unskilled migrant laborers.>>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

Self-taught chef cooks up good sales

When Li Zhiqiang was less than 14 he worked in a tiny noodle restaurant with only a handful of other staff cooking noodles all day. He was paid 50 yuan a month.

In the evening, he slept on tables in the restaurant - tables on which his noodles would be served the next day.>>>>


Changing face of Chinese worker

Outrider for the delivery brigade

For Zhao, the extraordinary popularity of online shopping has given him a job that pays up to 10,000 yuan ($1,600; 1,160 euros) a month, double the average wage for a university graduate in Beijing, and more than what his parents make from farming in a year. He also receives benefits including healthcare and a rental subsidy.

"The wages I make mean my parents and family have a better life," he says. "It's a lot more money than being a farmer, who only makes money at harvest time, and even then only about 10,000 yuan a year.">>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

Migrant who wants to keep moving

Lu Erfeng has just handed in his resignation. After almost four years of punching out chips for Apple gadgets on the manufacturing line at Foxconn in Shenzhen, the 21-year-old migrant worker from Henan province says he has had enough.

He doesn't particularly like the job. But that's not his main reason for leaving. With wages rising across China, Lu reckons he can make more elsewhere, and get work he finds more interesting and engaging in the bargain.>>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

Land of opportunity for farmer's daughter

"My hometown is warm and friendly, but very poor," Hu says. "Even though it's getting better now, there is no industry, and very few opportunities for young people. Many people there think there is no need for a woman to study, that they should just stay home and look after the family."

Last year, Hu was named the top selling real estate agent at Homelink, the company that sells 52 percent of Beijing's resale homes.>>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

It's tough - but rewarding - at the top

The job is much more difficult than you might imagine. The structure needs to be studied thoroughly in advance. Some windows include eaves that can be an obstacle for cleaners. Surmounting that obstacle may be a cakewalk on the ground, but is something altogether 200 meters up.

Skyscraper windows usually take several days to clean, Hu says. >>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

A stitch according to the times

In one of those small spaces, Lu Keqin sits at a sewing machine with about half a dozen others, deftly making women's business shirts. The 44-year-old has been at it since 8 am, and he won't finish until midnight. It's a work routine he follows every day, seven days a week.

Unlike the others, Lu is not an average sewing workshop employee, although that is how he started out. He's the boss, this is his business, and it's struggling.>>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

Daughter's songs keep mechanic humming

"When I was young my family couldn't afford to send me to university," he says.

Newly wed at the time, he left his wife behind in a bid to set them up for a better life.

Xu says at Foton five years ago, he was earning 3,000 yuan ($481; 349 euros) a month.

"Now I make 5,000 yuan a month," he says. >>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

A job that plays havoc with health

Hao, after graduating from a technical secondary school in Beijing, worked as a security guard in a shopping mall, as a delivery driver at the airport and as the chauffeur for a company boss before deciding to try his hand at driving a taxi two years ago, when he heard the pay was good.

"My son was born two years ago, and I felt like I needed to make more money to support the family. A friend told me a cabbie makes more money than a chauffeur, so I quit and got a taxi.">>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

To work, to sleep, perchance to dream

"To collect waste paper you need to know everything about office buildings and apartment complexes in your area. I have built up that knowledge in Hangzhou, and it would take up too much time to start from scratch in another city."

Being separated from her family is no big deal, she says, because the long work hours leave her little time to think about loneliness. >>>>

Changing face of Chinese worker

Cooking, cleaning, washing... all in a 14-hour whirl

Just a couple of days earlier, her husband splashed out 7,000 yuan ($1,122, 812 euros), about how much she is paid in two months, to buy a saxophone.

"Isn't it just crazy? A fat guy who's nearly 50 goes out, plays the saxophone in the park and hopes to be a singer before he hits 60." >>>>