China: Opportunities for Contingent Labor Engagements Across Many Sectors

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It undoubtedly remains the largest labor force in the world with many opportunities for contingent labor engagements across many sectors.

China’s government continues to rank near the top of the global rankings with regard to contract enforcement. However, the country is beginning to help employers suppress organized labor movements. Though the government had taken corrective action a number of times, there is a growing expectation that these organized movements will continue to increase and impact employment activities, particularly in markets driven by heavy manufacturing activity.

With increased regulation and increases in taxes, labor disputes have also been on the rise in China in recent years as its slowing economy has led to an increase in worker layoffs. The total number of strikes across the country grew from 1,379 incidents in 2014 to 2,741 in 2015. This increase presents an opportunity for employers looking to move toward a more balanced labor strategy by leveraging contingent labor more strategically with their permanent workforce.

Moving forward, labor-organizing actions in China will become increasingly difficult as worker leaders have begun to face charges for their actions. Thus, significant union-driven increases are not likely to be seen in the short-term, keeping China’s large relatively low-cost labor pool an important contingent labor opportunity across multiple industries.