China

Chinese College Grads Choose Jobs Over More Study


Job seekers in Hong Kong

Photograph by Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Job seekers in Hong Kong

As China’s college students prepare for graduation, more are aiming to join the job market than ever before.

More than 76 percent of those surveyed say they plan to begin working immediately after graduation, up from 73.6 percent last year and 68.5 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, about one-fifth say they will continue with higher education and 4 percent plan to start their own businesses.

That’s shown in an annual survey by Zhaopin.com, one of China’s largest job-seeking websites, which was released on April 15. Zhaopin canvassed more than 52,000 college students across China, 70 percent of which were in their final year as undergraduates, with the remainder being graduate students.

The numbers reflect economic improvement following the global economic crisis of half a decade ago, according to Liu Junsheng, a researcher at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security’s Labor and Wage Institute. The 2008 crisis, Liu said, “created a hard time for many employers. There were fewer job opportunities in the market, which forced many students to postpone entering it,” reported the China Daily on April 28.

“More and more employers value job seekers’ work experience, or in other words, they prefer to hire someone with a bachelor’s degree and some relevant work experience rather than someone with a master’s degree but fresh out of college,” said Liu.

The trend to working right out of college is likely to put more pressure on job seekers, with 7.27 million expected to graduate this year, up from 6.99 million last year, setting a new record. As of February, 60 percent of those looking for work had received at least one job offer, Zhaopin reported. On average, each job seeker had sent résumés to 28 possible employers and had done five interviews.

With college graduates often struggling to find jobs, China has been pushing further development of its vocational school system. Last year about 6 million students graduated from 1,300 vocational schools.

“China is desperately in need of practical talents, since there’s a shortage of skilled workers,” said Zeng Xiangquan, head of the school of human resources at Renmin University of China. “For example,” he continued, “China can’t do the welding when building an aircraft carrier,” the China Daily reported.

Dexter_roberts
Roberts is Bloomberg Businessweek's Asia News Editor and China bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter @dtiffroberts.

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