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New Generation Female Migrant Workers Hold New Working Criteria
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2018-8-29-
Title: New Generation Female Migrant Workers Hold New Working Criteria
Author: Liu Yanmei
Source: Workers Daily
Release Date: 2018/8/28
Keyword: Female Migrant Workers, New Working Criteria

Three young female migrant workers in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province recently spoke to interviewers to share their new criteria when finding a job, according to a recent media profile.

Due to the prosperity of the textile industry and distinct architectural style from the central urban area, the textile town, located east of Xi'an, is known as "Little Hong Kong."

Large numbers of migrant workers from textile companies used to live here and call it home.

"Factories provide lodging and meals for us. They're just like a small society with bathhouses, theaters, shops. Workers don't even need to go out," said a retired textile worker.

However, as young women born after 1990 become the main working force, the factory with good social reputation no longer as attractive as they used to be.

'It's More Fun to Deal with People'

Chen Juan, 22, comes from Xianyang, west of Xi'an, and works in a nail salon downtown. She decided to enter the beauty industry when she graduated from high school.

"Most girls are interested in the industry and I am a fast leaner," Chen said.

It took less than three months for the young woman to become skillful with the operations of the business.

Most of the employees in the shop are of similar age to Chen and come from other places.

Working in the service industry has become a first choice for this group of young women working in cities.

Among the women who are looking for a job in a city like Chen, some are working in restaurants, and some are working as saleswomen in shopping malls; not many of them are working in factories.

Working in a factory has never been in Chen's career plan.

"A classmate of mine works in an assembly line factory in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. When I saw her in our hometown during the Chinese New Year, she always looked bad. It was said that she always had to work overtime," Chen explained.

Actually, Chen is also very busy. Due to her love for the industry, she doesn't complain much about the travails of her work.

In her opinion, "Dealing with people is definitely more fun than dealing with machines."

Never Go Back to the Countryside

For the previous generation of migrant workers, leaving home to work in the city was often a passive choice.

However, among the new generation of workers, working in a city is no longer purely out of economic pressure, but a natural flow.

More diverse employment opportunities in cities give them more choices in choosing a career.

The popularity of mobile phones also enables the new generation to understand their environment through the Internet, speeding up their pace of integration into the urban environment.

Wang Xiaoxue, who is five years younger than Chen, comes from Weinan, another city near Xi'an. She just turned 18 and has been a waiter at a hotpot restaurant for two months.

Wang found her current job through a website.

Yang Jing, Wang's colleague, ten years older than Wang, works in Xi'an with her husband. Their son is left with her mother-in-law in a village in Hanzhong.

Though she misses her son, Yang does not want to go home as most migrant workers did a generation ago.

In her plans, after saving enough money, she and her husband would open a breakfast restaurant in Xi'an, then bring their son to the city.

"Big cities have more opportunities to earn money and my son can see the world more here," Yang said.

No matter Chen, Wang or Yang, they have no plans to go back to their hometowns.

Although Wang is still young and has no ideas about the future, she said she "will definitely stay in Xi'an," while Chen has become familiar with the way of life in the city and has built a new circle of friends.

Salary Is Not the Only Criterion

Before coming to the nail salon, Chen had worked at two other beauty outlets. Yang, who has been working in the city longer, has had four jobs in total, so Yang is used to changing jobs. Moreover, through her job-hopping, Yang's position is also on the rise.

Both Yang and Chen said that they no longer solely pursuing high wages like their predecessors. As long as they can earn more money, they are willing to put up with harder work.

Many of the new generation of female workers say that in addition to their salary, the working environment, relationships with colleagues, room for promotion and even whether the work content is in line with their personal preferences are all important criteria for them to consider whether the job is ideal.

When the work is unsatisfactory, they tend to move onto a better position.

(Source: Workers Daily/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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