Lying Flat – how China has responded to the Great Resignation

Lying Flat – how China has responded to the Great Resignation

As a result of the disruption to working life due to Covid since the beginning of 2020, last year saw the rise of the phenomenon known globally as the ’Great Resignation.’

The Great Resignation has seen millions of workers around the world quitting their jobs or not returning back to jobs that had been placed on furlough to find a better job or to change their career paths.

Some of the major factors cited for people leaving their jobs include poor working conditions, low salary, insecure contracts, lack of career development, low sense of fulfilment, excessive overtime demands and a rising cost of living.

In China, the return to workplace ‘normality’ after the initial impact of Covid-19 in the first few months of 2020 was rather swift. Around the world, many workers either lost their jobs, had their salary or working time reduce or worked remotely for over a year, which played a significant role in the Great Resignation.

While the situation in China is somewhat different, the dissatisfaction with workplace conditions does share many similarities with those held abroad.

The Great Resignation was the major trend for many in 2021, whereas in China a more localised reaction came in the form of something known as tang ping躺平 or ‘lying flat’ which is seen as resistance from younger Chinese employees to the intense overworking culture and pressure to succeed in a hyper-competitive workplace.

People who adopt the tang ping’ describes a situation “where people opt out of the competition and consumerism for a lifestyle of low desire and low consumption.”

What the Great Resignation and tang ping have in common is a general dissatisfaction felt by predominantly younger works in their 20s and even up into their early 40s at their current employment and economic status.

In China, there is a fear amongst business and political leaders that this resistance to work attitude can also have a major impact on businesses due either to staff shortages and unfilled vacancies or a perceived lack of productivity due to a rejection of overtime working.

Traditional culture in China puts pressure on younger generations to own their own home and have children, but as the cost of living has skyrocketed in recent years, this goal appears to be out of reach for many in their 20s and 30s in China, so instead, they decide to ‘lie flat’

This has led companies to think carefully about their talent attraction and retention strategies and find ways to provide stimulation, development opportunities as well as reward and recognise their employees.

If the salary on offer is not enough to motivate an employee, then businesses must work hard to create other benefits to keep their staff motivated and fulfilled enough to want to stay.

At Gemini, our teams of Recruitment Consultants are hearing more and more from candidates about the importance of having a positive work environment, the ability to grow and develop in their career and a work/life balance, rather than just purely focusing on what salary is on offer.

Using this knowledge we have been working hard on our Gemini Development range of services which seek to support businesses to plan their Talent Attraction, Training & Development and retention strategies.

If retaining and motivating your employees is a challenge that your business is faced with, then please do get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help!