Money, Stability, or Family? The Important Factors for China's Young Job Seekers

Money, Stability, or Family? The Important Factors for China's Young Job Seekers
Jun 29, 2015 Translated by

Editor's Note: China's class of 2015 is on the hunt for their first job. Do young Chinese graduates hope to work in the public or private sector? In a foreign or Chinese company? What factors are most important to them when looking for a job? This article, from the Chinese media, examines young graduates in Shanghai. Through this microcosm, we can better understand the priorities of young Chinese job-seekers throughout China. The struggle between stability at a government job, and a high salary in the private sector is clear. Family is number one for many recent graduates and most look to their parents for advice when looking for a job, especially regarding location.

Shanghai college graduates are looking in new directions when starting their careers, according to a recent Shanghai government survey. Shanghai college graduates earn an average monthly salary of 4,800 Yuan, before taxes. This is lower than what graduates expect to make by about 1,000 Yuan. A high number of graduates hope to work in Shanghai after graduation, and fewer and fewer students plan to go into civil service.

Shanghai's National Bureau of Investigation Corps recently released its fifth annual survey on job-seeking Shanghai college graduates. The survey was taken by 2,071 students from 16 Shanghai universities.

High Salary Expectations

The survey revealed that recent Shanghai college graduates earn about 4,800 Yuan per month, an increase of 400 Yuan from last year. Breaking it down, vocational school graduates earn an average of 3,500 Yuan, undergraduates earn 5,100 Yuan and those with a masters earn 6,800 Yuan.

Salaries are increasing for college graduates, but students' salary exceptions are still higher than their eventual financial realities. Shanghai's 2015 college graduates expect to earn an average of 5,800 Yuan, an increase of 500 Yuan from last year. This number is much higher than what most graduates end up actually earning.

College graduates who had found employment said that the three most important factors for finding a job are: professional background (44.1%), work or internship experience (41.8%), and reasonable expectations for income and benefits (20.9%). Graduates who have signed on with jobs that pay over 6,000 Yuan said that job or internship experience (50.6%), interview skills (24.1%), and social activities during college (20.5%) are important in finding a job.

Civil Service Less Popular

Government jobs are still attractive to college graduates who are looking for a stable choice for employment. 33.3% of respondents said that they would prefer to work in a government job. 32.1% replied that they hoped to work for a foreign company, 22.8% preferred a state-owned enterprise, and 9.5% hoped for a private company.

However, the number of students interested in working in civil service, has been decreasing for a number of years. The number decreased by 3.2% from 2013 to 2015. Foreign companies have always been a popular choice, and the number of students interested in them has stayed more or less consistent over the past few years.

Girls are more likely to want to go into civil service- 38.8% of female students are interested in working in a government agency, 11.7% higher than the number of male students. Boys, on the other hand, are more interested in state-owned enterprises. 28.8% of male students hope to work at a state-owned enterprise, which is 11.5% higher than the number of female students.

College graduates still lack enthusiasm for the private sector: only 9.5% of students hoped to find a job in a private company. Students are concerned with income stability, labor rights protection, and career prospects when looking to the private sector.

However, expectations and reality do not line up- a large number of college graduates who had already found employment have signed on to work at a private company. Out of 700 college graduates who had signed employment contracts, 36.5% of them will work for a private company. 29.4% signed on with a state-owned enterprise, 19.1% signed with a foreign company, and 11.6% with a government agency.

Shanghai Livin'

80.2% of Shanghai college graduates want to stay and work in Shanghai. Of the non-native Shanghaiers, 59.1% hope to remain in Shanghai, 29.8% want to return home to find work, and 11.1% plan to look for work in another city.

Why do Shanghai college students want to work in Shanghai? Students cited the familiar environment (60%), the wealth of job opportunities in the city (58.1%), family reasons (32.8%). Other reasons included the prospect of a higher income, and the fact that most students' friends are all in Shanghai.

Others hoped to return home to work because of the familiar environment (45.2%), family reasons (43.6%), and love of their hometown (33%). Students said that they felt pressure to move back to their hometowns from their families and friends.

It seems that when students are looking to stay in Shanghai or go home, family and familiarity are the most important factors. 73.4% of students said that their parents view was the most important factor in choosing where to work.

71.7% of graduates who have signed employment contracts are satisfied with the result. They are happy with the stability of their new positions and generally satisfied with their workplaces. However, they are not satisfied with their salaries and benefits. 63.2% were fully satisfied with their salaries, 32.3 were mostly satisfied with them, and 4.8% were dissatisfied.

Source: The Paper

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Keywords: China recent graduates Shanghai job seekers


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it seems like Chinese exploit their college graduates. 2000-3000 rmb is like a joke. If you keep salaries low, you can find desperate young girls to be mistress. What a great way to take young girls! Genius Chinese mind!

Jul 08, 2015 11:21 Report Abuse



Recent graduates where I live make around 2,000 RMB a month. Graduate teachers make a bit more, around 3,000 RMB a month.

Jul 04, 2015 12:55 Report Abuse



I think the general perspective of the article can be held true for just about any developed or semi-developed nation. Perhaps not the figures themselves. But, the premise of the article holds true.

Jun 29, 2015 20:53 Report Abuse



college graduates work?

Jun 29, 2015 14:47 Report Abuse



4800rmb a month in Shanghai may as well be a peasant's wage considering the cost of renting an apartment, transportation, and general cost of living. Exploitation Exploitation Exploitation. This is why the income gap is so large, common workers making 4800rmb if they're lucky, their employers are making tens of thousands easily.

Jun 29, 2015 10:45 Report Abuse



There's always a hungry new graduate to replace the one who's become dissatisfied with the working conditions at a job, money is power, lack of money means no choice.

Jun 29, 2015 11:49 Report Abuse



I think for Shanghai, they are okay figures. However, for most of China it is about half of that... I don't blame the people for wanting more money but you will find many Chinese employers are looking to exploit talent rather than reward it.

Jun 29, 2015 00:19 Report Abuse



Those salary figures seem a little hopeful

Jun 29, 2015 00:14 Report Abuse