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Jobs Go Begging In China; Workers In Short Supply

As China’s economy cools down, labor shortages continue to go up.

The supply of Chinese urban workers has set a new record for scarcity, with employers desperately seeking new hires to fill job openings. At the same time, employers are offering production bonuses and other financial incentives to retain the work force they have.

But money is only one of the inducements held out by Chinese companies to lure new workers and to keep regular employees.

Among the new attractions offered to employees are speed dating opportunities and intimate dinners during which managers and the best workers may sit down together, enjoy a meal and get to know one another a little better.

Beyond that, companies are building libraries, karaoke rooms, and sponsoring singing competitions mimicking the American Idol format. Better housing and opportunities to interact more closely with management have also been added to the list of inducements.

All of this is designed to sign up new workers and keep the old ones happy and loyal.

Whether or not these new strategies will work in the long-term remains to be seen. Meanwhile, workers are a growing rarity.

“There is no let up in the labor shortage,” said Kelvin Lau, senior economist with Standard Chartered Bank.  “…this is not a cyclical thing.  It’s about riding out a storm.”

Part of the labor shortage may be attributable to the changing Chinese economy, say some experts. Jobs in the service-sector are increasing as China’s once-thriving industrial-driven economy, characterized by heavy exporting, is now being transformed into an economy driven by domestic demand.

China’s thirty-year-old one-child policy is another contributing factor to the shortage.

In 2012 China’s labor force numbered 937.27 million, with a significant percentage of those workers young and well-educated. They want something more than just a job and salary, and employers are hoping that the newly initiated inducements will satisfy those requirements.

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