We analysed about 0.75 million Chinese social media posts from workers in electronics manufacturing. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, finding a job has become the single most important topic.
Mentions of recruitment and labour agents (% of all work-related posts)
But recruitment is a pitfall. The process may last several days – without pay and a lot of extra costs. These costs look like hidden recruitment fees.
A worker shares his experience. He first had to pay RMB 15 for taking a picture, then he had to pay RMB 5 for copies, then he had to buy a blanket for RMB 100 since there were none at the dorm. He then had to pay an additional RMB 5 for more copies at the dorm. At the dorm there were no locks, so he had to buy two from the agent for RMB 10 each. On the morning of the interview, he then had to pay RMB 5 for a cord to attach the company batch.
Once the new recruits enter the factory, they must pass military-style training, working long hours and fulfilling quotas. If you don’t keep the pace, you get a ‘ticket’. After that pressure increases even more. If you cannot stand it, you’ll have to leave.