We’re surely living in a fast-paced world. This means a constant struggle of achieving a work-life balance, while keeping a tab on your health as well as your social life. This lifestyle can be intimidating at times. And those without a partner may not be able to even look for one, given the paucity of time. But not anymore!
Well, China may just be the place you would want to be if you were a single woman over 30 years of age. Two companies in China have taken an extraordinary step and may end up leading by example.
This is a country where single women in their late 20s and early 30s are considered as ‘leftover’ women or Sheng Nu. At such a time, two companies have taken a bold step of giving those over 30 a much-needed date leave. Ingrained social beliefs and a traditional mindset that women who are not married by a certain age are undesirable, are perhaps the reason behind them being looked upon as leftovers. However, there are women in other countries that simply place greater emphasis on their careers and choose them over marriage. Often times, they end up not marrying at all.
Hangzhou Songcheng Performance and Hangzhou Songcheng Tourism Management are now giving single female employees over 30 in non-frontline roles, additional 8 days of leave. They have termed this as annual dating leave. The usual leave of 7 days is given to employees during the Lunar New Year for people to go home and bond with their family. But an extra 8 days just to find the perfect partner definitely comes as a refreshing initiative.
Huang Lei, the Human Resources Manager of the company told online news outlet Zhejiang Online:
The ratio of men to women in our company is about the same. [But] women employees mostly work in internal functional departments and some are show performers. Some female staff have less contact with the outside world. Therefore, we hope to give more leave to female staff. To give them more time and opportunities to be in contact with the opposite sex.Huang Lei, Human Resources Manager at Songcheng
This move has come at a time when China has touched a historical turning point. For the first time since records have begun, deaths have outnumbered births. The 2018 statistics for the country suggest that there has been a drop of two million births. This is alarming as compared to the previous year taking the number of live births to 15.23 million.
Although the one-child policy was abolished in 2015, the number of births still suggests that people have taken note of the fact that an ageing society and dwindling workforce could tarnish economic growth.
So after continued measures to control the population, the country is now exploring ways to increase fertility. Life expectancy has gone up and China expects a quarter of its population to be over 65 by 2040. This means that the situation could become grave unless there is a sizeable workforce to take care of the ageing demographics.
A survey was conducted recently by LinkedIn China and L’Oreal China. This suggests that almost 80% of the women born after 1995 fell into the ‘economically independent’ category. On the other hand, the remaining 20% chose the ‘loving wife and mother’ option.
Recently, a school in Hangzhou had also come up with an ‘extra two days off each month’ initiative for single, stressed-out teachers. This certainly served as a move to uplift employee morale. The supposed ‘love leave’ was also much appreciated.