Shanghai short of workers in service sector
Updated 21:57, 24-Jun-2022
Chen Tong

Since Shanghai lifted COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of June, demand for workers in sectors such as home services, logistics and deliveries has surged.

Job website Ganji said the number of vacancies posted recently jumped by 125 percent from the closed-off period in April and May. Hot jobs are in service industries such as home services, logistics and storage.

At Aijun Home Service company in Shanghai, demand for home services, from cleaning to live-in nannies, is up from the same period last year.

Li Qiming, a dispatcher at Aijun Home Service, said he helps process some 250 orders a day.

"The city was put into closed-off management for two months. The number of orders we are receiving is up 30 percent on the same period last year. But we can only complete half of these orders," Li said.

Such difficulty to meet the demand stems from a labor shortage.

Ninety-nine percent of the workers at Aijun Home Service are from outside Shanghai. During the closed-off management period, many of them went home due to lack of work. Some of them haven't yet returned to Shanghai because they are waiting to see how the COVID-19 situation develops.

Xia Jun, founder of the home service company, said he had been preparing to expand his business after the Spring Festival this year, but the COVID-19 outbreak halted his plan.

"A large batch of migrant workers came to Shanghai after the Spring Festival. But they've had no orders to take since March. Some 20 to 30 percent of these workers were back home in the middle of May. Not many of them have come back to Shanghai yet," said Xia.

Human resources experts say workers in the service industry have no long-term labor contracts, and so no orders to take during the closed-off management period meant no income for them at all.

Song Jie, general manager at G&E Human Resources Consulting, said if the travel restrictions could be eased, it would help to solve the shortage in labor.

"Most of the flexible staffing work is for projects. If there are no orders, they just have no work. So travel freedom is very important to them. If the travel restrictions could loosen, it would help solve the shortage of labor," said Song.

So far, most cities in the Yangtze River Delta have ended quarantine requirements for travelers from Shanghai.

It's hoped this can once again allow migrant workers to move freely through the region.

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