Hostels provide refuge for city job seekers

Updated: 2011-07-05 13:13

By Yu Ran (China Daily)

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High expectations

Li Huaying, who owns a local job agency, has been in charge of migrant worker recruitment for years. The agency holds job fairs at Shanghai Railway Station each year after Spring Festival, recruiting workers who went home for the holiday, and in the summer, to reach migrant college graduates.

"The situation was extremely tough this year because only dozens of applicants handed in resumes while hundreds of positions were available," Li said. "Few local laid-off and retired workers want to lower their status to work in factories."

But it is not factory jobs that newly minted college graduates are looking for. Li said the migrant job applicants, like Zhou, are more concerned than Shanghai residents with the work environment, social welfare, leisure time and monthly incomes of 3,000 yuan or more.

Those kinds of expectations make their job search tougher - and extend the young migrants' stays in temporary housing.

Tong, the job hostel owner, estimated that Shanghai has more than 100 registered job hostels accommodating at least 10,000 recent college graduates, and more than 500 illegal hostels serving thousands more.

Ren Yuan, a professor in Fudan University's school of social development and public policy, considers housing one of the top essential problems for job seekers. He said it should be solved through cooperation between government and the local authorized job hostels as soon as possible - by shutting down the illegal, underground hostels and easing the property difficulties among young migrant graduates.

"Shanghai, as the pioneer in first-tier cities, has to respect each individual new migrant and provide better working and living conditions to each of them, then help them fit in the society well," Ren said.

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