Young recruits drawn to the gig economy

By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-01 07:14
Share - WeChat
An online recruitment fair is livestreamed at Minhang District Employment Promotion Center in Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

Such work offers greater flexibility, time to decide future careers

Zhang Zhinan's parents wanted her to become a civil servant or teacher in her hometown of Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, but the 21-year-old recently found a so-called gig job at a logistics company in Shanghai.

"Gig job" is a popular term for freelance work that has no long-term commitment. Most gig workers are employed on a part-time or hourly basis. They can also decide how often they work.

Zhang's job requires her to work eight hours a day for 30 days. She said she does not yet have a long-term career plan, but hopes to try different occupations and keep her life "free and simple".

She was one of 39 people who found such jobs when a gig employment market opened in Wujing town in Shanghai's Minhang district in late September.

That day, 12 enterprises from the fashion retail, hotel services, express delivery, housekeeping, logistics and mechanical processing industries offered 32 positions.

The gig market in Wujing was the second to be held in the district, following that in Zhuanqiao town, which was launched in August.

Regular recruitment sessions are held at both markets, and the human resources authority in Minhang is considering whether to open two more gig markets in other areas and whether to operate the job markets daily.

Chen Tiemin, director of the Minhang District Employment Promotion Center, said gig markets emerged in China after demand for flexible employment rose by 8 percent to 10 percent annually in recent years.

"Demand rose significantly in the first half of this year, with job opportunities of this nature now accounting for more than 30 percent of the total," Chen said.

National Bureau of Statistics data show that 200 million people were involved in flexible employment in China by the end of 2021, including 100 million born after 1990. Industry insiders predict the former figure will double by 2036.

Last year, five ministries issued a document aimed at strengthening the gig market to better support multichannel flexible employment and help those looking for gig jobs find work.

In Shanghai, the authorities released a document in July, requiring stronger support for the gig market, and improved gig job search and recruitment services.

In Minhang, five offline recruitment activities have been held at gig job markets, and 224 enterprises have recruited more than 3,600 individuals for gig jobs.

Zhang, who has had gig jobs in the logistics and catering industries in Jiangxi since graduating from college in the spring, said the idea of doing such work is commonplace among her peers.

"We joke that we live like USB flash drives. We increasingly prefer to determine our own schedules and stimulate our creativity by working more independently," said Zhang, who studied finance at college.

She said she did not move to Shanghai for money, but for a more diversified choice of jobs.

"For my work, I don't want to lose freedom in terms of time and effort. I won't choose a high-pressure job that requires a high degree of commitment at this stage of my career," she said.

Zhang said she and her peers consider a job that is all-consuming and involves a lot of overtime work is not ideal for them.

"Unlike past generations, we're more likely to regard work as just a part of life, and we're keen to taste different lifestyles," she said.

"Also, to avoid putting pressure on myself to save money for the future, I've never thought deeply about marriage or having children. I will be happy if I can strike a balance between spending and earning."

1 2 3 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349