“How come it’s so tough to hire a nanny?” sighs Ms Chen from Fuzhou, feeling frustrated after a month-long hunt that started just before the Chinese Lunar New Year. “Even the domestic service companies can’t find me one – and the pay keeps going up.”
In Fujian province, there are about 1,500 domestic service companies and 200,000 domestic workers. It means 710,000 more workers are needed to meet the real market demand if calculated against the total number of households.
Since January 2014, the city of Fuzhou has adopted new rules, requiring all domestic service companies to use a unified system of contracts, certification and registration, with a view to establishing a standardized domestic service market. Companies wonder if these unified measures can help overcome the current bottleneck and promote the healthy and orderly growth of the industry.
Big market and problematic industry
“There are one or two hundred orders placed every day,but only 30 or 40 domestic workers are available to dispatch,” says the HR manager of the Zhongqing Domestic Service Company of Fuzhou at the 2014 job fair organized by the Human Resource and Social Security Bureau of Taijiang District. They intended to hire 500 domestic workers, but the result fell short of their expectations.
Industry experts say that due to the large turnover of domestic workers, they always hold different certificates issued by a variety of institutions. Given that good and bad services co-exist and there is no unified form of contract in the domestic service industry, companies act on their own and this easily gives rise to disputes.
Fuzhou: In Pursuit of Standardized Domestic Servicesspecialized domestic service”account for 15.6%, and“older people’s mobility difficulties” account for 1.6%. Before the establishment of the domestic service industrial association, Fuzhou government authorities conducted a survey of the domestic service market: of the 2.18 million households in the city, 60% have expressed a demand for domestic services; if each domestic worker provides services for three households, the market needs 436,000 jobs in total; and if each household pays 3,000 yuan a year for such services, total annual spend will amount to 3.9 billion yuan (over US$ 600 million).
On one hand, there is immense market demand; on the other hand, the industry shows a mixed picture of good and bad. It is estimated that there are about 180 domestic service companies in Fuzhou, less than 5% of which have a registered investment of 100,000 yuan or above. Most of the 100,000 domestic workers in the industry have only an elementary middle school education or even lower, and over 90% of them are migrant workers from other provinces.