Young Chinese embrace new professions

Using a script and props and adjusting the angle for the lighting, beauty vlogger Yu Yihan began shooting his video.

Born after 1995, Yu chose to turn his hobby into a career and became a full-time beauty vlogger, a new occupation thanks to social changes and technological progress.

People attend a job fair at the Hongshan Gymnasium in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, Dec. 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

The young man began to shoot videos when he was in college. Back then, a video of his usually gained only a few hundred views, until one he uploaded before graduation went viral online. The success encouraged him to embrace the new occupation.

Yu is one of many who have joined a new profession. According to a report, people who were born after 1990 accounted for 50 percent of the practitioners of new occupations in 2019, while those who were born after 1995 made up over 22 percent. New professions have brought more choices for young Chinese in the job market.

New professions means greater development potential and prospects and are popular among young people who exhibit innovation and risk taking, said Huang Jingbao, a professor from the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A survey of 2,000 young people indicated that 96.1 percent said they would engage in new occupations if they had the opportunity, while 62.5 percent of the respondents believed that new occupations could motivate workers to improve themselves.

Many young Chinese people have embraced “slash” careers, pursuing portfolio careers.

A survey of 1,988 people aged between 18 and 35, conducted by the newspaper China Youth Daily, found that 52.3 percent of the young people said they have friends who have adopted a slash career. Another report suggested that the number of people with slash careers in China had exceeded 80 million in 2019.

Lili in her 30s is among the “slashie” generation. The woman, who works in a first-tier city in China, defines herself as a health adviser and dance teacher.

“As a dance teacher, I have flexible teaching arrangements and a lot of spare time. I also know how to maintain good health, which means I can offer health consultations online,” Lili said, explaining why she juggles both jobs. Being a slashie not only brings the joy of refreshment, but also more income and opportunities, said the young woman.

Some young Chinese opt for side jobs, because they do not want to quit their hobbies and full-time jobs that guarantee stable income, while others believe that they can cultivate more hobbies and hone different skills by adopting a slash career, said Jin Ge, a researcher with Peking University.

Huang attributed the popularity of slash careers to the application of new technologies in the internet era, which makes telecommuting possible so that young people can secure multiple side jobs in their spare time.

While many young people are embracing new professions and pursuing multiple side jobs, some quit their jobs very shortly after starting.

A study by employment-related social media platform LinkedIn showed that Chinese workers who were born after 1995 stay at their first job for just seven months, and those who were born after 1990 an average of 19 months, while those who were born after 1980 stay for about three-and-a-half years.