Service sector

Shanghai lacks workers in the service sector

Since Shanghai lifted COVID-19 restrictions in early June, demand for workers in sectors such as home services, logistics and deliveries has increased.

Jobs website Ganji said the number of job openings posted recently jumped 125% from the April-May shutdown. 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 fulfill some 250 orders a day.

“The city was put under closed management for two months. The number of orders we receive is up 30% compared to the same period last year. But we can only fulfill half of these orders,” Li said.

This difficulty in meeting demand stems from a labor shortage.

Ninety-nine percent of Aijun Home Service workers come from outside Shanghai. During the management shutdown period, many of them returned home due to lack of work. Some of them have not yet returned to Shanghai as they wait to see how the COVID-19 situation develops.

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

“A large number of migrant workers came to Shanghai after the Spring Festival. But they haven’t had any orders to take since March. Some 20 to 30 percent of these workers had returned home by mid-May. Few of them still came to Shanghai,” Xia said.

HR experts say workers in the service sector do not have long-term employment contracts, and so no orders to take during the closed management period meant no income for them.

Song Jie, managing director of G&E Human Resources Consulting, said if travel restrictions could be eased, it would help solve the labor shortage.

“Most flexible staffing work is for projects. If there are no orders, they just don’t have a job. So the freedom to travel is very important to them. If travel restrictions could be relaxed, it would help solve the labor shortage,” Chanson said.

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

It is hoped that this will again allow migrant workers to move freely in the region.