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Offer equal social services to ease shortage of labor

Updated: 2014-02-12 16:33

Reports show that Guangzhou, Guangdong province, where manufacturing industries traditionally boomed, might face a shortage of about 123,300 workers this year. That’s the natural result of population tendency as well as social development, says a column in New Express Daily, calling for relocating industries to inland provinces. Excerpts:

“Workers wanted!” A shortage of workers, which has happened almost every year after Spring Festival for the past several years, is hitting coastal provinces again and this time the problem is especially serious. It is predictable that the challenge might not ease in the short term.

Without doubt, changes in China’s demographic structure are the primary cause of the problem. As an abundant supply of labor comes to an end, the days of employing workers to toil all day for a small salary are gone.

In addition, there are still policies in place that discriminate against migrant workers compared to local residents, and exclude them from social security, education and other welfare services. It is common for migrant workers to labor in coastal cities for 20 years, but their children are still denied enrolment at local public schools. As inland provinces also become developed and can offer more job opportunities, many workers no longer have to migrate and could well work in their hometowns.

Therefore, to cope with the labor challenge, enterprises could make a decision whether to move to inland provinces for a more abundant labor supply. A large percentage will still stay in Guangdong and other coastal regions and need to raise workers’ incomes to win them back. More importantly, the government needs to accelerate the process of offering equal, non-discriminatory services such as social security and education to migrant workers and their families, so the migrant workers who came to the coastal regions will remain.