Lin Jing (a pseudonym) is a stay-at-home mother who works part-time when her two children are at school. Previously, she found odd jobs with the help of her friends, and sometimes even walks into stores to look for a job.
One day, as she was passing by a booth near a subway station, the woman saw a QR code on the booth. She scanned it and was directed to a WeChat mini-program which offered plenty of odd jobs.
"You first register on the platform, search for jobs you are interested in, and then contact the employer. If you meet their requirements, then you will be recruited," said Lin.
Lin is a citizen in Hubin sub-district, Shangcheng district, Hangzhou city, east China's Zhejiang Province. This year, Zhejiang plans to build 200 odd job markets. Shangcheng district, a core area in Hangzhou, has mobilized all kinds of resources to build a service chain centering on the odd job market.
The WeChat mini-program that Lin used to find odd jobs was launched by the human resources and social security bureau of Shangcheng district. It is aimed at providing odd jobs for workers so that they can make money and better settle in the city.
"Jobseekers can use the platform free of charge and their rights are protected," said Wang Zhankui, head of the public services center of Hubin sub-district.
Covering only 1.6 square kilometers, Hubin sub-district has over 3,000 business entities. Sources said pedestrian streets in the Hubin sub-district see an average daily pedestrian traffic of about 90,000 on weekdays and around 160,000 on weekends. Business entities in this area are able to provide odd jobs for about 1,000 people.
Wang said the gig economy booth in Hubin sub-district, located in an area that sees large pedestrian traffic, has helped more than 200 people find part-time jobs.
Lin currently works at a restaurant and her job is to package takeaway food between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. from Friday to Sunday. "I've done other jobs, which were not stable. Now, it is easier to find a part-time job and I don't have to walk into stores to look for one," said the woman.
"Last week, I saw that the restaurant was looking for people to package takeaway food. I hadn't heard about this job before," said Lin, adding that the job is flexible and if she feels tired, she can rest and then look for another part-time job on the platform.
Zhou Heqing is a full-time employee at a pharmacy who works every other day. She thought about taking a part-time job to earn extra income. Zhou had been a delivery woman, a salesperson, and a sorter.
At the beginning of 2023, Zhou found a part-time job at a restaurant using the online odd job market.
"I have three days and a half to do part-time jobs every week," said the woman, who added that she can earn an extra 300 yuan ($41.50) to 400 yuan a week by doing part-time jobs.
When the online odd job market was being prepared, a mechanism was designed to protect the rights of jobseekers, said Wang.
The online odd job market provides insurance compensation services for workers. If work-related injuries occur, workers can apply for reimbursements by showing hospital receipts, said Zhou.
As of May 31, 2023, Hubin sub-district had offered 290 part-time job openings through the WeChat mini-program, helping 556 people find part-time jobs. The incomes these people gained by doing part-time jobs provided through the platform added up to 220,309 yuan.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China had recorded 200 million flexible workers by the end of 2021.
On July 7, 2022, five departments, including China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, released guidelines on improving the odd job market and recruitment services. The guidelines require governments at various levels to support flexible employment and help older workers and those having difficulties securing employment find jobs.