China – Migrant grads failing to get jobs in China’s first-tier cities

August 5, 201310:45 am378 views

Large numbers of fresh graduates are flocking to China’s first-tier cities to look for work even though local graduates are finding it difficult to get jobs.

Many of these young migrants still think there are good opportunities there although jobs are more plentiful in second-tier cities.

Twenty-three-year-old Wang Jiaqi recently graduated with a computer engineering degree.

Last month, she moved from her hometown Liaoning to Beijing in search of her first job.

“I feel the software industry in Beijing is more developed than back home, so I hope to find a job here,” said Wang.

However, she is finding the transition harder than expected as she hasn’t yet found a job.

“Sometimes, I feel a lot of pressure and I miss home. It hasn’t been easy finding a job so I’m very stressed,” she said.

Wang is not alone. Every year, more graduates like her are leaving their hometowns and heading to major cities like Beijing to look for work. All of them are hoping to get a head start by finding a good job.

Hao Jie, deputy general manager at FESCO, said: “For students from other parts of the country seeking employment in large cities, I think the living cost itself is a huge pressure on them. For instance, you have housing rental, transport cost and the high cost of living here. That’s something which a fresh graduate’s pay may not be able to support.”

Part of the problem is the “Hukou” – a household registration system that is unique to China.

Under the system, migrants are not eligible for basic benefits such as subsidised housing, medical subsidies and social security insurance.

Employers, therefore, see migrants as a bigger liability and many will prefer to hire local Beijing residents.

Gu Zunshi, deputy director at Beijing Employment Service Agency for Graduates, said: “In Beijing, there are 220,000 graduates this year. Right now, about 20,000 of them haven’t found jobs. Among them, fewer than 5,000 are local Beijing residents.”

Fresh graduates, with families already living in the city, will also find it easier to make the transition to working life.

“For students from large cities, they may have less pressure in the sense that they family is here, their parents are here with perhaps a job and a house, providing them with a supportive environment,” said Hao Jie.

Despite tough conditions, young migrants are still drawn to China’s first tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. They are convinced that there are better opportunities in these places where resources and multinational firms are concentrated.

However, human resource experts said it is actually in the second and third tier cities where there are more job opportunities for fresh graduates with no experience.

John Sung, operations director of north and west China at Kelly Services, said: “There are still a lot of needs there as more companies move into those second- and third-tier cities. Major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai are matured markets and clients are more interested to find candidates who have the right experience and knowledge. For fresh graduates, this is a little more difficult.”

The average starting salary of fresh graduates in China is about US$500 per month, with the gap narrowing between first, second and third tier cities.



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