Fuzhou: in pursuit of standardized domestic services

According to experts on the industry, most of the domestic service companies start up from intermediary agencies, remaining at a low level of business development, and have yet to form an industrial chain. Because of the tremendous market demand, coupled with a lower access threshold and absence of entry rules, the market has always been in disorder.

Industrial experts say that two or three thousand yuan (under US$ 500) and even less can be enough to run a domestic service centre. Compulsory “unified” standards to regulate the market The same survey by the Fujian Research Centre on Women and Domestic Science finds that the managers of those domestic service companies have worked for one year at least and eight years at most. Few of them have specialized domestic service skills, such as nursing and children ’ s education. Most have not been trained in domestic service and management skills. Some managerial staff don’t even know what “ domestic work ” means, and their management competencies show much room for improvement.

In addition, there are few large companies: the majority are actually “small intermediary agencies”. Most operate in a room not much more than ten square metres in size, containing some desks, chairs and telephones for office staff, while the numbers of managerial staff vary from a maximum of 28 down to a minimum of one.

The survey also reveals that of the domestic workers in Fuzhou, 12.4% are illiterate, 22.6% have a primary school education, 37.2% have an elementary middle school education, 10.2% have a secondary middle school education, 10.2% have a college education and 6.6% have an undergraduate degree. In other words, 72.2% have an elementary middle school education or lower. Those with a college education are students working temporarily over the summer vacation as family helpers (in tutoring and domestic chores).

In general, “disorder” is the label that best applies to the domestic service market. Transactions are mainly conducted through the intermediary agencies, the process usually being one where domestic workers and hirers register with the domestic service companies, the companies match them up and arrange for them to meet and negotiate, then the workers, companies and hirers together sign a contract and make the deal.

In Fuzhou, measures have been taken to address the disorder of the domestic service industry. This year, a package of unified standards has been firmly implemented. For example, the unified filing of domestic workers will be made compulsory, requiring a record of their personal information, work experience, training received and customer feedback; in addition, a system of service quality tracking and management is being established. The commercial authorities will urge compliance with the standards by the companies, which will be fined up to 20,000 yuan for non-compliance. Company breaches of the contracting rules will be addressed too.

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  Source: ACFTU  2014-06-10

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