More Young Chinese Opting for Flexible Employment

 June 18, 2021
Wang Xiaonan shoots a short video at her hometown in a village in Huaxian County, central China's Henan Province. [Xinhua]


After graduating from the Communication University of China in Beijing, Liu Ning'er, who was born after 1995, decided to follow her passion and became an e-sports host.

To stand out in this relatively new field, she maintains a highly disciplined lifestyle: she begins to practice dancing at 10 a.m., prepares for her work from 1 p.m., and works at her online job from 4 p.m. till midnight. On top of this tight schedule, she has to travel from one city to another during the e-sports season.

Liu is a striking example of the roughly 200 million Chinese people who are now opting for flexible employment so that they can enjoy more freedom at work and also do the things they love.

Driven by the surging development of the online economy, flexible employment, which covers individual businesses, part-time jobs, and new types of employment, has brought more opportunities for job-hunters in China.

Zhang Chenggang, director of the Research Center for New Employment Patterns in Capital University of Economics and Business, explained that most of the people in flexible employment are college graduates born after 1995 or 2000, and work in industries related to the online economy. In general, they earn a little bit more than those in conventional industries and enjoy more freedom at work.

Experts said that recent years have seen a growing number of college graduates make this choice in some provinces. In east China's Jiangsu Province, those in flexible employment accounted for 2.9 percent of total graduates in 2019, up by 0.4 percentage points compared with 2017.

From the perspective of employers, 55.7 percent of all enterprises nationwide adopted this flexible approach in 2020, up about 11 percentage points from 2019, while nearly 30 percent of enterprises planned to maintain or expand the scale, according to a report on flexible employment in China released by the School of Labor and Human Resources at Renmin University of China.

"The online economy has brought vast opportunities and more suitable positions for young people who want to be flexibly employed," said Zhu Di, an analyst from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Zhu has carried out research on young people's employment habits and found that many of them hope to keep a balance between work and family or want to be masters of their own lives due to a longing for a free life, which accounts for the popularity of this new employment mode.

A few years ago, Wang Xiaonan, who was born after 1995, resigned from her job and became a vlogger in her hometown, a village in Huaxian County, central China's Henan Province, as this allowed her to look after her father, who suffered from kidney disease. The young woman draws inspiration from her daily life in the countryside, such as enjoying dinner with her father, and sees vlogging as a new career choice.

Zhang Chenggang noted that flexible employment will give young people in third- and fourth-tier cities more opportunities to thrive.

However, some experts are also calling for a new social insurance system to better protect the rights and interests of people in flexible employment in the long term.


(Source: People's Daily Online)


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