If you need a reminder that Chinese New Year is coming, try booking a maid. It's virtually impossible to hire a live-in family maid at this time of year, when most migrant workers leave town for the holidays.
Maids are in high demand among Beijing's swelling middle class, yet there is a shortage of service, a high turnover rate, and the profession remains highly unstable, according to Wang Jun, manager of a company which employs migrant workers from northwestern China to work as live-in maids in Beijing.
Every year, 300,000 migrant workers come to Beijing to fill service roles, but most switch to factory jobs or other skilled professions after a year or two, Wang says. [Full Text]