Footwear suppliers in China are increasingly risking non-compliance by extending working hours and paying illegally low wages, says a new survey.

Although the survey of 110 factories reveals a “strong sense of optimism”, rising costs and shrinking labour pools are leading a number of facilities to extend working hours and to hire juvenile or retirement age workers, according to the fifth Factory Survey Analysis from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA).

These coping strategies increase the risk of non-compliance with the social performance requirements of buyers, says the report, which was produced in association with Elevate.

Meanwhile, wages continue to be “one of the top challenges” for Chinese footwear makers, with 11% of those surveyed failing to pay the legal minimum wage.

The report aims to provide in-depth data and analysis on social compliance issues impacting the footwear industry, focusing on China which produces over 80% of footwear sold in the US.

“If we can better help our members understand what issues factories face and what challenges they can prioritise, we can enhance industry communication and more effectively work with factories in a collaborative way,” said FDRA president Matt Priest.