China’s factories are wrestling with labour shortages. Age-old prejudice partly explains why

After graduating from a vocational school with a degree in chemical equipment maintenance in 2019, Zhang Cheng joined a natural gas company in northwest China on a salary of 6,000 yuan (US$941) per month, higher than the national average for all graduates that year.While people around him envied his wage, working on the shop floor was no walk in the park, he said.“I work in a noisy environment, with a lot of soot and steam and low-oxygen levels, and there are a lot of cryogenic liquids around…


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