Tech companies in China became big by asking their workers to make long hours, 996 in jargon. But those days are over says business analyst Shaun Rein to CBS. Not only is it illegal to let people work those long hours, but qualified workers also leave their jobs, because they want to have a life next to their work too.
The term “9-9-6” means nine in the morning to nine in the evening, six days a week. That includes hours and hours of unpaid overtime. It’s illegal — but the government turns a blind eye, because long hours build China’s tech giants, like Alibaba and Huawei, that employ millions and make billions.
But change could be coming. “If you’re going to have 9-9-6 work culture, I’m sorry, you’re not going to be able to get the top Chinese talent anymore,” said Shaun Rein of the China Market Research Group. Rein said that a decade ago, young people were inspired by the race to make China a world leader in tech. But now the thrill – and the promise of striking it rich – are largely gone.
“Younger Chinese just don’t want to slave away either working for a multi-national company…” Rein said, “[or] work in a factory or even work for a Chinese billionaire like Jack Ma. And they’re starting to push back.”
Not everybody agrees with Shaun, though, like William Bao Bean: “Chinese tech leaders must build an environment where everyone feels they are part of a team, not just an employee, where they are empowered to make a difference.”
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