China's '966 work culture': would you adopt the model?

Billionaire Jack Ma, former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, previously defended the culture

China's '966 work culture': would you adopt the model?

Despite the controversy surrounding the “996 work culture”, more than half of China's younger generation admitted that they would still accept it – at the right price. The controversial 996 culture refers to a system in which employees report to work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, six days per week, for a total of 72 work hours rendered for their employers.

The Just So Soul Institute recently held a survey to get a glimpse of candidate preference on prevailing employment trends, including the divisive 996 culture.

Read more: 'Warning to us': Bilibili mourns passing of 'overworked' employee

According to its findings, 51.43% of candidates would accept the 996 work schedule for an "enticing compensation package.” Only 16.26% said it was unacceptable and would rather resign, while 29.89% said they would "reluctantly" do it until they found another job.

"Facing enormous pressure in a taxing workplace, the post-00s generation displays resilience and toughness," the media release from the report read.

The 996 work culture is a practice observed by some companies in China. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, even previously defended the culture.

"Let me ask everyone, if you don't put out more time and energy than others, how can you achieve the success you want," he said on Alibaba's WeChat account. "I don't regret [working 12-hour days]; I would never change this part of me."

Read more: Tech CEO calls out industry's overwork culture

These remarks, however, were retracted days after, with Ma slamming the culture as "foolish" while calling out companies that enforced the schedule. With this, he joins a number of critics of the culture in the country, who include Xin Shi Ping from the Chinese media outlet Xinhua News Agency, who wrote in a commentary that the practice "violates labour law and overtakes health and the future."

According to Xin, the practice harms employees and is a "misunderstanding of the hard-working spirit."

China's Labour Law officially states that employees can only extend work hours for up to three hours a day for "special reasons." However, this should not exceed 36 hours a month.

Read more: Chinese tech works go viral with overtime protest

Other findings

The report also found that state-owned enterprises were the most attractive employers for college leavers, with 46.37% of the respondents saying it was "promising for their future." Only 9.89% saw Fortune 500 companies as appealing, while financial institutions or consulting firms were attractive to only 7.69%.

In addition, starting a business (6.37%) and becoming an influencer (2.85%) were the least appealing career choices for the younger generation, according to the report, which indicates that they value job security.

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