Shenzhen’s tech workers face burnout striving for their entrepreneurial dream, highlighting the need for effective unionization.
The News Lens
By: China Labour Bulletin
At 10 o’clock in the evening on most weeknights, row upon row of employees can be seen still hard at work, anchored to their desks and clearly illuminated inside the glass-fronted skyscrapers of Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, home to many of China’s major technology companies.
Some staff do leave these buildings around 6.30 p.m. but most do not go home; they simply head to one of the many conveniently located restaurants or cafes for dinner or go to the gym for a quick workout before returning to their work station.
It is the same scene at weekends: Shenzhen’s integrated urban design and efficient transport network makes it very easy for staff to just drop by the office for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Those living further afield can of course work at home if they wish, and many choose to do just that. For the young tech workers of Shenzhen’s Silicon Valley, the boundaries between work and leisure time seem to be permanently blurred.
Java engineer is currently by far the most competitive job in Shenzhen with a staggering 14,409 applicants per day.
Overtime is not compulsory but workers accept that working long hours are the only way to get ahead in the tech industry. If you don’t work as hard as your colleagues you will soon get left behind or replaced by one of the thousands of other people clamoring for your job.