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China Businesses The Almighty Buck

China's Millennials Are Hustling For Part-Time Gigs Instead of Traditional Jobs (bloomberg.com) 147

Bloomberg has a report today in which it underscores a growing trend among millennials in China who are looking for part-time jobs. From the article: Hopping from one short-term stint to another isn't the sort of aspiration an earlier generation had in China, where the middle-class dream has long been university degrees followed by a stable job -- preferably one backed by the government. In a 2016 poll of 13,000 college students, 48 percent said they didn't want to enter the traditional labor market. Hardly any of these part-time jobs pay well, but it doesn't matter to millennials. The report adds: "The money is little," Zhang Chen, a 21-year-old accounting student said of the short gig that pays about 240 yuan ($35). "But I want a more interesting life." Chen was lined up for the work through DouMi, a startup that focuses exclusively on part-time positions and blends elements of a temp agency with an internet jobs board and marketing service. For around 130 yuan a day, DouMi users can sort crates of milk at a supermarket or hand out pamphlets on frozen sidewalks. Those considered "beautiful women," and between the ages of 18 and 28, can make four times as much plus tips by working as live-streaming models to keep mostly-male viewers entertained. Many of the roles run for mere days or weeks at a time, a flexibility that suits those juggling social lives and university studies. "Every month we have between 300,000 and 400,000 jobs," said Chief Executive Officer Zhao Shiyong.
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China's Millennials Are Hustling For Part-Time Gigs Instead of Traditional Jobs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2017 @10:39AM (#53905481)

    ...and demand full time employment.

    The gig economy is an extension of the reduce all costs, regardless of longterm impacts mentality that has brought us off-shoring, temp workers and the destruction of the middle class and the safety nets of retirement benefits.

    It is one more step down the short road that leads is to eating tasty soylent green while pedaling a stationary bike for electricity and dreaming of actually holding a grapefruit

    • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2017 @12:02PM (#53906039)

      as long as they just part timers (w2's) and not 1099's.

      I don't know how that works in China but in the usa there is a lot of abuse of 1099's as the work places get's out of paying taxes, uniforms (in some states they must be free to workers) others mini wage laws apply. liability, workers comp, tool/car/cell reimbursement.

      • Not only is there an incredible amount of abuse, the IRS publishes rules about what is and isn't allowed, however the IRS does absolutely *nothing* about any abuse. They're quite happy to let it continue.

      • by Aaden42 ( 198257 )

        There's no shortage of W-2 abuse in the US. You need N hours to qualify for benefits? Oh look, N-1 hours on your "full time" schedule AGAIN! Sucks to be you. But remember, we need full time availability & you don't get your schedule until two days before so good luck getting another "full time" job to fill in!

        Gig economy isn't that different than the reality many people face working W-2. If anything it's more honest about the fact that there's no safety net and you need to keep working until you're

    • I think this short road is leading to either a global French Revolution 2.0 or killbot-powered genocide against the 99%.

    • ...and demand full time employment.

      How does one "demand" full time employment? Can I demand that you provide me with a full time job?

      The root problem is that we have pushed more and more social responsibilities and costs onto employers. If I hire someone to drive a truck, why should I suddenly be responsible for his medical care? If most people swap jobs every few years, does it really make sense for employers to be responsible for their retirement savings?

      In Maoist China, each factory ran a school for the children of their workers. If y

      • If most people swap jobs every few years, does it really make sense for employers to be responsible for their retirement savings?

        I have to agree with you that the whole "mandatory retirement contribution" thing is pretty much just an annoyance for all concerned today. I understand the rationale for it (because most people are incapable of long-term planning), but it's a terrible idea for people who are in jobs for a short term and need to deal with all sorts of different retirement accounts spread out in various systems.

        When I was younger, I took a few short-term jobs and once worked as a state employee for a couple years. In all

  • by ewhenn ( 647989 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2017 @10:43AM (#53905495)
    I hate euphemisms, and "gig" is just a euphemism for day laborer. We've been down that path before, is this really what we want to go back to?
    • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2017 @10:49AM (#53905529)

      What's a part-time gig anyway? It's only 1000MB some of the time?

      • What's a part-time gig anyway? It's only 1000MB some of the time?

        Yes, they were known a Quantum Fireballs.

    • This story is about the Chinese, so is that what you mean by 'we'?
    • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2017 @11:17AM (#53905695) Homepage Journal
      The supreme irony is that "job [wiktionary.org]" used to mean a form of employment that was exactly that. Perhaps it's merely cyclical.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2017 @10:49AM (#53905527)
    I've seen this before in the video game industry. High school graduates pissing their pants to test (not play) video games and get paid for it. Eager beavers willing to work 80 hours a week for months on end. Flash forward years later, they're no longer in the video game industry and realize that all they have accumulated is a bunch of cheap tech toys. Sad.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Been there, done that. I'm old now. :(

  • "The money is little...but I want a more interesting life."

    While the part-time choice while attending college may be the rather obvious choice due to school demand, I'm wondering about those who are choosing not to seek out stable full-time employment post-graduation. Things like getting married, starting a family, or even moving out from underneath Mom and Dads roof; all of these life events will likely cost more than the average "interesting" salary.

    This story seems to glamorize Lifestyles of the Poor but Interesting, but perhaps the glamor is hiding the true pr

    • Or maybe, like some people europe and japan, people are becoming less interested in starting a family.

      • That makes sense, seeing how one has to struggle to make ends meet even after getting a full education and doing everything right. On top of that, unlike in the past, when marriage was a selfless commitment b/w 2 people, today, financial failure of one spouse is enough to end the marriage. If that's the environment one faces, why would one be remotely interested in bringing into the world people that they'll love, but whose struggle will be even uglier? Humans going extinct would be a better idea a
      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Or maybe, like some people europe and japan, people are becoming less interested in starting a family.

        Which also means they are dooming themselves to a life of nonstop, low paying work. Without families or children, what are all these gig millenials going to do when they get to be 60-70 years old? They won't have anything in savings, no kids to support/take care of them, and the government will be so overburdened it won't be able to do anything either. There's too much focus on the here and now these days, not many in the current generation think about what will happen long term.

        • I agree with most of your post except for one thing. In our current culture, at least where I live (Israel), having kids doesn't guarantee that they will support/take-care of you.

          • by bmk67 ( 971394 )

            Here too, but NOT having kids guarantees that they won't be there for you.

            • Some would say that NOT having kids guarantees that you can at least enjoy your younger years, making killing yourself after having lived a full life or saving money for old age more viable.

        • Without families or children, what are all these gig millenials going to do when they get to be 60-70 years old?

          What are most adults going to do when they get into their 80-100 years old? Most people are going to outlive their retirement funds by 30 to 40 years longer than their parents or grandparents.

          When my father retired at 59-1/2, he expected a short retirement since all his older brothers kicked the bucket at 60. He lived until he was 75. Fortunately, he had a pension and Social Security benefits. I'm planning to retire at 77 and live until I'm 120. If I die sooner than, my heirs will have an inheritance.

    • "moving out from underneath Mom and Dads roof;"

      Its very easy to talk about money not mattering and wanting an interesting life when you don't have to worry about rent or bills. Part of being an adult is accepting responsibility for your own fate and - unless you want to live in a hut in the woods or a park bench - than means finding the money to pay the above.

      The "gig" economy is just (usually rich) hipster talk for dead end park time McJobs thats been repackaged and remarketed for the latest gullible gener

      • "moving out from underneath Mom and Dads roof;"

        Its very easy to talk about money not mattering and wanting an interesting life when you don't have to worry about rent or bills. Part of being an adult is accepting responsibility for your own fate and - unless you want to live in a hut in the woods or a park bench - than means finding the money to pay the above.

        The "gig" economy is just (usually rich) hipster talk for dead end park time McJobs thats been repackaged and remarketed for the latest gullible generation of 20 somethings who haven't yet wised up.

        Perhaps the gullible ones here are the parental enablers of hipsters ascribing for nothing more than an "interesting" life at the cost of their providers.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Its very easy to talk about money not mattering and wanting an interesting life when you don't have to worry about rent or bills. Part of being an adult is accepting responsibility for your own fate and - unless you want to live in a hut in the woods or a park bench - than means finding the money to pay the above. The "gig" economy is just (usually rich) hipster talk for dead end park time McJobs thats been repackaged and remarketed for the latest gullible generation of 20 somethings who haven't yet wised up.

        I think it comes in both flavors, those who use the gig economy to pick work and those who get used by the gig economy. Probably a lot more of the latter but I've met a few people who were avid surfers, kiters, snowboarders, golfers and such who want to be able to look out the window and say nope, not going to work today. Maybe we don't notice it much doing development where they care more about the results than when you do it but in a lot of other places like retail, manufacturing, education, healthcare et

    • Once upon a time in America, multi-generations — grandparents, mom and dad, kids and baby daddy — living under one roof was considered the norm.

      • Ten years ago this was still the norm for all of my asian friends until they got married
    • Things like getting married, starting a family, or even moving out from underneath Mom and Dads roof; all of these life events will likely cost more than the average "interesting" salary.

      Many Chinese men will never have the opportunity [pri.org] without plural marriage. There's 27 million more men than women in China right now. By 2020, it's expected to be 35 million more men than women. As the linked article points out, that's the entire population of Canada. A country worth of young men will not be able to marry and start a family. It's 15% of their age cohort. Fifteen percent! That's insane. And they're already an economic force to be reckoned with. Singles Day sales in China dwarfs Black

  • Those considered "beautiful women," and between the ages of 18 and 28, can make four times as much plus tips by working as live-streaming models to keep mostly-male viewers entertained.

    eHo

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously. "Cam models" are literately just Chaturbate and similar sites. If you want to know how much a female model makes, someone who is young and cute can make about $50 an hour. These are mostly Russian models however, not Chinese (due to laws about porn and inability to stream through the china firewall.) The catch to these streaming sites is that the site itself takes a >50% cut, and if you get booted from the site, there is no alternative to take you. There are of course alternate sites, but your

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Compromise your long term goals and integrity for short term results. Musicians have been selling out for years just to play a "gig", what does it get them? Nothing. The vast majority are broke and their industry commoditized because they are willing to work for peanuts or even nothing. Please people, put a value on your time and skills and stop allowing yourself to be exploited as "cheap labor".

  • Are these people also benefiting from government handouts, or is that still a thing in China (was it ever)? Is there (was there ever) any kind of medical safety net? This makes a lot more sense if this is the equivalent of a teenager getting a side job while still living in their parents' house - if they already have some of their basic needs met, then this is really for luxuries anyways - lots of people are willing to trading working hard for a higher standard of living, but there's likely to be many other

  • I tried that in America right after graduation. I changed jobs about once a year (after boredom set in) and after four years, it caught up with me - suddenly nobody would talk to me because I was a "job-hopper".
    • by Rastl ( 955935 )

      I tried that in America right after graduation. I changed jobs about once a year (after boredom set in) and after four years, it caught up with me - suddenly nobody would talk to me because I was a "job-hopper".

      Back in the day...

      Actually I wasn't making an old-timer joke. Maybe 15 years ago it was a red flag to see a series of 18 month jobs on a resume since the expectation was that you would be in a job for at least 5 years in order for us to recoup our investment. Those skips looked like someone stayed ju

  • Kind of remember doing the same kind of thing 20+ years years ago, but we didn't have the fancy 'gig' prefix.
  • It's almost like they just want to live for the moment...instead of plan for the future. How many times do you see young adults saying they don't have enough money for a new phone, but will buy one anyway? Never save, never put off until you can afford it...it's all now now now.
  • I can think of at least 2 major forces at work, and not just in China:
    1. Birthrates are down
    2. Automation is changing the nature of work.

    These aren't new, particularly increasing automation isn't new, but that doesn't mean their impact on the future is well understood or predictable.

    Millenials may be conscious of the uncertainty of work and reluctant to invest in learning skills and spending time in a job that disappears in 10 years. I suspect also that they haven't suffered the hardships of their parent

  • "But I want a more interesting life."

    May you live in interesting times. -Chinese proverb

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

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