In­ter­net boom re­shap­ing jobs mar­ket

About 3.5 mil­lion em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties set to be cre­ated by 2020, says BCG study

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHI­NADAILY

The In­ter­net boom is re­shap­ing China’s em­ploy­ment mar­ket by cre­at­ing abun­dant op­por­tu­ni­ties and more self-em­ployed work­ers, a re­port claimed onWed­nes­day.

The study by Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group said the In­ter­net cre­ated 1.7 mil­lion Chi­nese jobs in 2014, 88 per­cent of them in small andmedium-sized en­ter­prises with rev­enue less than 2 bil­lion yuan ($316 mil­lion).

It fore­casts that 3.5 mil­lion In­ter­net-based job op­por­tu­ni­ties will be cre­ated by 2020, as the Web pen­e­trates more tra­di­tional in­dus­tries.

“The num­bers are eye­catch­ing given that China is wrestling with slower eco­nomic growth,” said Li Shu, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at BCG and the re­port’s au­thor.

“But what’s more im­pres­sive is the num­ber of jobs the In­ter­net has gen­er­ated in­di­rectly.”

Tak­ing Taobao, the online shop­ping site run by Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, as an ex­am­ple, the re­port shows it em­ploys less than 5,000 staff but sellers us­ing the cus­tomer-to-cus­tomer plat­form have cre­ated 8.66 mil­lion jobs.

“Com­pared with tra­di­tional in­dus­tries which are op­er­at­ing in­de­pen­dently, online busi­nesses tend to build an open ecosys­tem which in­volves a large num­ber of par­tic­i­pants and can more ef­fi­ciently boost the de­vel­op­ment of rel­e­vant in­dus­tries,” Li said.

The re­port high­lights the Chi­nese lo­gis­tics in­dus­try as a ma­jor ben­e­fi­ciary of the In­ter­net boom, which saw its em­ploy­ees surge from 160,000 in 2011 to 1.4 mil­lion last year, a 900 per­cent rise.

The study claims the av­er­age age of em­ploy­ees who work in the In­ter­net sec­tor is 28.3 years old and 55 per­cent of work­ers are younger than 29, in sharp con­trast with na­tional data which shows 53 per­cent of Chi­nese em­ploy­ees are older than 40.

Jin Jian­hang, the pres­i­dent of Alibaba, said the study con­firmed that “the In­ter­net is dom­i­nated by young peo­ple”.

“It em­pow­ers com­pa­nies to boost ef­fi­ciency while em­ploy­ing fewer em­ploy­ees, of­fer­ing a way to tackle China’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion.”

BCG also noted that 60 per­cent of peo­ple work­ing in tech­nol­ogy sec­tors will start hunt­ing for greener pas­tures within three years.

“The high turnover rate in Chi­nese In­ter­net firms shows the readi­ness of tech work­ers to seek new op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Li said.

“They are more open to risk and when­ever a chance pops up they will be the first to grasp it.”

The re­port also said an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple in the sec­tor are be­com­ing self-em­ployed, as the In­ter­net “low­ers the bar to start­ing their own busi­nesses”.

BCG said nearly 210,000 fresh grad­u­ates chose to start their own busi­ness last year, a 21 per­cent rise on 2011.

It also sug­gested more in­di­vid­u­als were opt­ing out of full-time work, pre­fer­ring to be free­lance, adding that skilled In­ter­net-based work­ers do not like to be tied to long-term con­tracts. Ma Si con­trib­uted to this story.

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