Guangdong hopes to exploit its own surplus workforce and train another million of its rural residents this year to meet its severe labour shortage. Provincial authorities said plans to spend 1,500 yuan per person or 1.5 billion yuan in total training the workers were 'affordable and worthy of the province's long-term economic development', the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily reported yesterday. 'We have trained more than 1.35 million young farmers since 2005, but we are still unable to meet manufacturers' demands,' Xie Shuxing , director of the Guangdong Labour and Social Security Bureau's training and employment division, was quoted as saying. Mainland media have reported that Guangdong has been hit by severe labour shortages for years and many migrant workers have higher salary expectations. Manufacturers said many were closing factories and moving them inland or to other countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh with lower costs. Recruiters complain that workers' skills have not kept pace with their growing wage demands. Xu Ming , a recruiter for a construction company, said he could not find the right applicant for a senior technician's opening at Guangzhou's first post-holiday job fair. In Dongguan , a hundred booths at a job centre for skilled technicians and managers have been fully booked since before November by employers looking for talent. According to Guangzhou labour authorities, only 13 per cent of the migrant workers who returned from their Lunar New Year holidays had formal training. Even companies willing to give free training to their workers might not be able to get enough applicants. Japanese copier manufacturer Ricoh Asia Industry (Shenzhen) complained to the newspaper that it received only 11 applications for its 50 assembly-worker vacancies at a one-day job fair. Mr Xie said the labour shortage had even spread beyond major cities to less developed areas around the Pearl River Delta. 'Many entrepreneurs have moved their factories to less developed cities in Guangdong to cope with higher production costs, namely Heyuan , Qingyuan , Shaoguan and Zhaoqing , where they are tens of thousands of workers short now,' he said. Lin Jingqing , labour relationship director at the Guangdong Labour and Social Security Bureau, said: 'Migrant workers in Chengdu can earn 1,000 to 1,200 yuan a month with lower living costs there. Many prefer to stay in inland cities rather than Guangdong.'