Factory representatives put up boards marked with hiring details wait for job seekers at a street labor market
In the labor market’s pecking order, Chen Xiulan is at the very bottom. She is female, middle-aged and from the countryside and stands barely 5 feet tall. (Height requirements are common with Chinese employers.) Yet when the nearly 60-year-old grandmother from Sichuan province showed up in Shanghai last fall looking for work on the construction site of the sprawling World Expo, nobody laughed. Chen was handed a hard hat and a broom and put to work with the crew that sweeps up debris.