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Migrant Workers' Lack of Opportunities Exposed

Three surveys published by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security have highlighted major problems faced by migrant workers, particularly that of insufficient employment training.

Results from Current Migrant Workers' Employment Levels, Structure and Characteristics, Migrant Workers' Employment & Labour Market Construction and Analysis of and Suggestions for Migrant Workers' Training & Employment Services were released on August 14.

The specialists from the ministry found that the average age of migrant workers was 29, with 45 percent between 16 and 25 years old and 61 percent under 30.

Average levels of education and training were also low: 83 percent had only reached junior middle school level and 72 percent had received no employment training at all.

Of the total migrant worker population, 62 percent now live in eastern, 20 percent in central and 18 percent in western China, and some frequently moved to find work in new places.

Their original homes were mainly in the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Chongqing.

Apart from insufficient training, other problems identified by the surveys were the activities of illegal job agencies cheating migrant workers, inappropriate training programs, policy & system barriers, discrimination against migrant workers and poor city employment services.

According to the law, companies must provide training to employees, but many use the majority of their training budgets for managers, leaving little or none for migrant workers. In the construction industry, 76 percent of employees are migrant workers, numbering 32 million, but few receive employment training.

( by Wang Sining, August 24, 2005)

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