Motivation, Recruitment, and Migration of Chinese Foremen to Zambia

Understanding Mobility: Motivation, Recruitment, and Migration of Chinese Foremen to Zambia
Beibei Yang
Cambridge Journal of China Studies, 11(1), 2016, p. 129-140

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Abstract :

The recruitment of Chinese foremen and their migration to Africa is becoming increasingly significant phenomenon in current China-Africa transnational context. Albeit previous scholars consider the foremen migration is triggered by state power, my data shows that both the labor demand of the state-owned enterprises (the SOEs below) and the local African labor market without sufficient skilled workers function as the “pull” factor to stimulate Chinese foremen to work in Africa. Moreover, the high salary level and low daily consumption are the two favorable factors identified by researched foremen to achieve their goal of earning money in Zambia. As a result, the Chinese foremen migration is essentially driven by the interdependence of the SOEs power as well as foremen’s individual economic rationality.
Further, this study also analyzes the role of two types of recruitment tools of the private networks and the commercial labor service agencies in connecting foremen to their employers of the SOEs. Once being recruited, the SOEs function as foremen’s most important social bond and support sources; their relation continues to be very close until the employment contract comes to the end. This study offers a micro-level perspective to make Chinese foremen’s voices and feelings better understood in current China-to-Africa transnational context