Home helpers in short sup­ply this hol­i­day

China Daily - - CHINA - By XIN WEN xin­wen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

As Spring Fes­ti­val ap­proaches, many mi­grant work­ers have al­ready left Bei­jing to re­turn to their home­towns for fam­ily reunions, and this has left a ma­jor short­age in Bei­jing’s do­mes­tic helper mar­ket.

Wang Yan, a Bei­jing na­tive, started to search for a house­keeper to take care of her se­nior fa­ther one and a half months be­fore Spring Fes­ti­val.

“Usu­ally the care­giver that at­tended to my fa­ther would ask for leave be­fore the hol­i­day came, so I planned early to search for po­ten­tial good fits,” said the 58-year-old.

“How­ever, up to four house­keep­ing com­pa­nies that I’ve called said I should call them a week ahead of the Spring Fes­ti­val and they couldn’t prom­ise any,” she added, and was told do­mes­tic helpers them­selves of­ten made fi­nal travel plans much closer to the hol­i­day it­self.

“I fi­nally gave up hope of find­ing one and asked my cousin for help to find a nanny to take care of my fa­ther.”

The high de­mand for house­keep­ers has also been wit­for nessed by do­mes­tic la­bor com­pa­nies as well as a pop­u­lar house­keeper ser­vice plat­form.

“About 95 per­cent of our house­keep­ers re­turned home in the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary,” said Zheng Hongzhong, gen­eral man­ager of Zhong­sheng­meide, a house­keep­ing com­pany that as­signs 11,000 house­keep­ers in Bei­jing. “Since last week, the cus­tomer ser­vice line rang all day and we didn’t have enough house­keep­ers to fill the de­mand.”

“It’s un­der­stand­able that house­keep­ers want to go back home to have reunions with their fam­i­lies,” Zheng said.

Ay­i­laile, or “Here comes aun­tie”, is a do­mes­tic helper ser­vice plat­form with more than 100,000 reg­is­tered house­keep­ers on­line. There were only about 10,000 house­keep­ers based in Bei­jing stay­ing in the cap­i­tal this Spring Fes­ti­val, said Li Changze, a spokesman for Ay­i­laile.

Yin Xiaowei, a 48-year-old house­keeper, is among those who de­cided to stay in Bei­jing the fes­ti­val care job.

El­derly care pays 200 yuan ($32) per day, and Yin ex­pects to earn 3,600 yuan in to­tal for the 15 days of work.

“The client of­fers twice that of nor­mal days,” said Yin, orig­i­nally from Qiqi­har in Hei­longjiang prov­ince. “This is be­cause dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val there is a high de­mand for house­keep­ers.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Min­istry of Com­merce, an es­ti­mated 25.4 mil­lion peo­ple worked in China’s do­mes­tic ser­vice in­dus­try in 2016, a rise of 9.3 per­cent com­pared with a year ear­lier.

De­mand for do­mes­tic work­ers is mas­sive in China and the in­dus­try is ex­pected to reach 224 bil­lion yuan in 2016. The ser­vice sec­tor as a whole now con­trib­utes the largest por­tion to na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

How­ever, the un­even de­vel­op­ment be­tween ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas has led to un­sta­ble de­vel­op­ment of the do­mes­tic helper in­dus­try as the mo­bil­ity of mi­grant work­ers eas­ily al­ters the work­place, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. for an el­derly

WEI TONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Do­mes­tic helper Cai Lianx­i­ang works at a client’s house in Bei­jing ear­lier this month. She chose to stay in the cap­i­tal to work dur­ing the hol­i­day and will re­ceive ex­tra salary.

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