(Yicai Global) Nov. 19 -- With the rise in platform jobs, represented by takeaway delivery riders, couriers, and online ride-hailing drivers, China’s manufacturing sector is facing manpower shortage, according to a research report.
The report, compiled by a research group led by of Ding Shouhai, a professor at the Renmin University of China’s School of Applied Economics, is based on a survey of 5,081 workers and 700 manufacturing plants.
Of these, some 25 percent of platform employees used to work in factories, 20 percent were from other platforms, 15 percent were waiters or waitresses, and 8 percent used to be construction workers, according to the report released two days ago.
Working for platforms, with higher average hourly wages and longer working hours, can bring CNY1,500 (USD235) extra per month than factory work, and CNY500 more than working as mobile vendors. That, the report said, is why people, especially young, capable and strong workers, prefer to work for platforms.
In addition, some manufacturing companies are in a difficult situation amid the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and higher raw material costs. They cannot afford higher wages, or worse still, must cut payments, exacerbating the loss of employees.
Manufacturers generally use labor outsourcing and automatic production equipment to relieve the pressure, the report said.
The manufacturing sector is responsible for almost all inventions in innovative fields and the promotion and application of technologies is being held up by a workforce shortfall and pressure on technological progress, said Zheng Jianghuai, a professor of economics at Nanjing University.
If the industry cannot maintain a reasonable proportion, the foundations of China’s economic growth will be greatly affected, he noted.
In the face of the labor shortage brought about by platform employment, the report said the government will need to help industry with fiscal and financial means in the short term, and accelerate their technological progress in the long run, freeing them from dependence on low-cost labor.
There were 84 million sharing economy service providers in China, with more than 4.7 million riders at food-delivery giant Meituan, according to data released in August by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Transport.
Editor: Peter Thomas