Some manual labor jobs performed by women come with paychecks even bigger than those of white-collar professionals, a report released on March 25 said.
The report, by classified advertising website ganji.com, showed that the highest paycheck for female blue-collar workers in China goes to masseuses, maternity matrons and manicurists, whose monthly salaries averaged between 5,000 and 6,214 yuan ($805-$1,000).
The income level puts these blue-collar workers on par with some white-collar workers in China, echoing a previous study by the website that found that the average salary of office workers in the best-paying 20 cities last year was 5,453 yuan.
The report, which evaluated data for 35,000 positions and resumes posted on the Internet site in 2014, looked at the wages of female blue-collar workers in first-and second-tier cities and found that their average monthly salary was 4,276 yuan.
The reason certain blue-collar jobs get better pay than some office workers is the heavy workload or the skills required to do particular jobs, said Wang Xiaohong, senior product manager at ganji.com, who was in charge of the study.
“It’s just like plumbers in developed countries who are middle-class. With the service sector booming in China, the income gap between white-collar and blue-collar workers is set to shrink further,” she said.
Jason Wang, managing partner at Experis, a workforce solution provider, said the higher pay for skilled blue-collar workers marks the progress of a market economy.
The report also underlines the link between high living costs and high compensation. Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are the top four cities for pay of female blue-collar workers.
Masseuses in Beijing had the biggest paychecks, with monthly salaries averaging 7,321 yuan, the report said. Wang Ying, a 43-year-old senior masseuse in Beijing, said she earns about 8,000 yuan a month.
“It is a labor-intensive job,” Wang said. “When I provide massage services, I have to use all my strength to work the pressure points of customers.”
But not all female practitioners enjoy the same relatively high pay, because of strict certification requirements.
“Those who fail to obtain middle-or senior-level massage certificates have far lower salaries,” Wang said.
Zhen Chunyan, a maternity matron in Beijing, said she makes 13,000 yuan a month.
“I’ve obtained some professional licenses, such as nutritionist, during my nearly 20 years of experience as a maternity matron. People are willing to pay a lot to professionals who can take very good care of little babies and new moms,” Zhen said. But she said the money doesn’t come easy.