Some of China's '996' Tech Tribe Quit, Seek Less Stress

An increasingly growing number of millennials in China are beginning to question the value of working long hours in the tech sector and deviate from the longstanding 996 work environment (working 9am to 9pm for six days a week) that many local companies religiously follow. From a report: In April, protests from tech employees against excessive overtime surfaced online, sparking an equal pushback from industry magnates such as billionaire Jack Ma of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The protests point to a mindset shift in the tech industry, whose penchant for long hours has been praised by Western executives as a reason for China’s economic rise. But the shift could also have a cost for tech firms, venture capitalists and analysts say. According to job-hunting site Maimai, the tech sector was the only industry out of thirteen surveyed to see more people leave than join between October 2018 and February 2019.

“One of the highest costs in an organization is high employee turnover. A culture that is less focused on hours put in, may also become more effective if the focus is turned to output versus input,” said Rui Ma, a San Francisco-based investor who has funded startups in China and North America. For some companies and employees, working 996 became a badge of honor and Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Sequoia Capital’s Mike Moritz highlighted it as a competitive advantage over the United States. But a 996 backlash surfaced publicly in April, when a group of programmers launched an online protest against the practice.

Supporters published a crowdsourced list of companies that engage in long overtime hours, which included big tech names such as Baidu, Tencent Holdings, and delivery service app Ele.me. The protest prompted a public debate about work hours in China’s tech industry, and spurred reactions from at least 10 Chinese tech moguls, including Ma, who initially defended the practice. Chinese state media said 996 violated the country’s labor laws, which mandate an average working week of 44 hours.

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Source: Slashdot – Some of China’s ‘996’ Tech Tribe Quit, Seek Less Stress

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