What changes in employment have there been in recent years in Taiwan?
Taiwan plays a critical role in Asia because the island is strategically located. It is convenient to connect with Japan, Korea, and China, and also easier with Southeast Asian countries. Therefore, many multinationals would establish their offices in Taiwan. In addition to technology development, people have a tendency to accept that employment changes have kept pace with developing countries, such as the United States or European countries.
In 2007, the first iPhone appeared in the market and then brought the most influential evolution to the workplace. With rise of smart phones and social applications, “always-on” a new sub-culture has started and disturbed work and life balance. There are no longer clear lines for working hours. Hence, you are responsible for your own time keeping. Hence, working extensive hours and mobile office has become normal in Taiwan.
Furthermore, employers tend to use social surveillance to snoop on and to police their employees’ behaviors outside the office. No privacy is a serious problem for employees. Not to mention that the original background documentation is very conventional in Taiwan, people must share their family status, and even height, weight and blood type on the forms.
As Taiwanese higher education has been in the universalization and internationalization, degrees matter to masters and overseas so that many employers could enhance their competitiveness with regard to human resources management. In the meantime, advanced technology replaces human jobs, not only in factories but also in service sector. Robots take over and manpower has been substituted by machines to increase efficiency and to reduce the cost of salaries. Therefore, workers from Southeast Asia play a larger role in the working place of Taiwan, especially in blue collar and manual skilled jobs.
Since the pandemic affected the world in the past two years, working from home and virtual online meetings have become a norm in the society. It is because that companies strive to prevent Covid-19 spreading and also overseas business trips seem to be more difficult to arrange than before. Thus, many workers feel uncertain towards their status quo. More seniors choose to stay in the workplace longer. Moreover, slash and freelance work becomes a trend. Many people believe that loyalty is not as important as that in the former times.
In conclusion, labor unions are not very common in Taiwan. Despite of workplace protection expansion; it is very difficult for Taiwanese government to modify the regulations with current times. Many people agree that the digital age has a strong impact on the employment. Also, there is no doubt that more women make up the workforce. However, the gender gap still exists, such as unequal pay and top managerial position mostly taken by men. It seems to me that employers should take their employees’ benefit into account and to adopt a fairer working culture. In this case, the general norm might be changed faster and become fairer and as relevant as in other western countries.