Entornointeligente.com / Deliverymen from Meituan Waimai rest at a street corner in Beijing. [Photo/CHINA NEWS SERVICE] According to data recently released by one internet platform, 580,000 new delivery riders were added in two months during the epidemic last year, 40 percent of whom had worked in manufacturing until the onset of the public health crisis.
This is not an isolated phenomenon. In recent years, the number of workers engaged in internet-related jobs such as online ride-hailing drivers and delivery riders has increased year by year.
According to statistics, in 2019, among the 4 million riders for one food delivery platform, riders under the age of 40 accounted for 83.7 percent. In comparison, from 2008 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of migrant workers engaged in manufacturing was minus 2.84 percent.
This has prompted some people to ask whether China’s manufacturing is on the decline.
But compared with the fixed wage system in many traditional factories, the transparent incentive model of internet enterprises where people can earn more by working harder is more attractive to young people.
Before the pandemic, manufacturing jobs were seen as more stable than delivery jobs. However, the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus and its effects on economic activities have changed that perception.
Moreover, the current labor mobility in China is also due to the reshaping of manufacturing. For example, with the further use of mechanization and intelligence-based technologies, the manufacturing industry is gradually transforming from labor-intensive to capital-intensive, thus it has a declining demand for ordinary workers and offers decreasing remuneration for them.
The industrial transfer of labor forces is a normal phenomenon and should not be over-interpreted. The higher payment internet services can offer employees has attracted a large army of workers and also led to certain distortions in the current labor market.
However, the low employment threshold of internet-based services have also possibly increased people’s unwillingness to increase professional skills in the short term, thus exacerbating the shortage of skilled workers in society.
At a time when the manufacturing industry is being reshaped, it is necessary to cultivate among people a long-term and overall employment vision to increase their motivation to become professional and skilled workers.
LINK ORIGINAL: Chinadaily