Decoding the Post-85 Workers


September 13th 2012, BLC shared a research report titled “Decoding the Post-85 Workers” in 2012 Global Industrial Environment and Safety Summit organized by SUMERRA. Participants from brands took interest in this report. China’s new generation management was not only a headache to manufacturing companies, but also a concern for the clients of factories, those who have their important supply chain in China.

The old generation of workers has been gradually replaced by the new faces of Post-85 workers. According to data in 2011 published by the National Statistics Bureau, China’s new generation of migrant workers, who were born after 1980, increased to about 85 million, accounting for 58% of the total number of migrant workers. In manufacturing companies, especially in coastal cities, workers tend to be even younger. Therefore, those who born after 1985 (27 years old or less) are becoming main workers in the factories. There is large difference in management of these two generation’s workers. However, management level appears to have limited understanding toward the Post-85 workers.

Joint with Columbia, BLC initiated a research survey on the Post-85 workers, who were working in shoe-making manufacturing companies in the Pearl River Delta area. Our goal is to help factory better understand the characteristics of Post-85 workers, pinpointing the analysis of leaving reasons in order to come up with effective countermeasures of high turnover rate.

The research survey lasted 8 months. It consists of in-depth interview with 14 workers and shop-floor management, and 965 workers’ questionnaires collected from 10 medium-sized factories in Pearl River Delta area. We used SPSS on data correlation analysis and obtained valuable conclusions on post-85 workers.

BLC shared the results with participants from brands and factory management. The report focused on the analysis of the structural characteristics, overtime, income, and job-hopping willingness. Based on preliminary analysis of these data, BLC developed specific advices of “how to manage and retain post-85 workers” for management in manufacturing companies. Our scientific research method and practical conclusions were recognized by participants.

In the future, BLC will continue to focus on Chinese workers, explore more in-depth research, and strive to enhance the management capability of manufacturing companies.