Study on Employee-sharing in China

Li Haijian1, and Li Lingxiao*2

1 Institute of Quantitative & Technological Economics (IQTE), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing, China

2 School of Economics and Finance, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China

Abstract: Labor shortages caused by an aging population and falling fertility presentan obstacle to China’s modernization drive. Since the limited labor resources take timeto increase, employee-sharing as a collaborative and innovative mode of employmentrepresents a novel strategy for addressing the sharp declines in the working-age populationand labor supply. Based on the theories of the sharing economy, gig economy, and skillseconomy, this paper develops a systematic framework for employee-sharing and explainsits significance for the country, employers, and individuals in light of flexible employmentand employee-sharing practices. At the national level, we advocate transforming theidentity of employees from “corporate assets” to “social assets”, their labor relationshipfrom “dependence on employers” to “independent social members”, and their teamsfrom “corporate governance” to “labor union governance”. At the corporate level, werecommend that businesses streamline fixed-term workforce and transform themselves intoplatform-connected social entities. At the individual level, we establish a basic frameworkfor employee-sharing to expand employee income sources and improve the social protectionsystem, and elaborate on its significance for the country, employers, and individuals. Theemployee-sharing mechanism can be adopted step by step by resolving issues such asemployee labor contract termination and management of shared employees. This gradualiststrategy seeks to create a mode of employee-sharing that is feasible and in line with currenttrends for the benefit of the country, employers, and employees, and to contribute a Chinesesolution and perspective to the global question of labor recruitment.

Keywords: Flexible employment, sharing economy, gig economy, skills economy, shared

JEL Classification Code: J21, M53, O15

DOI: 10.19602/j.chinaeconomist.2023.05.02

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