College Graduates in China Facing Challenging Labour Market and Declining Salaries

May 30, 20178:17 am656 views

College graduates in China are facing challenging labour market conditions and declining average monthly salary. This was found according to a report by Zhaopin Limited on 2017 career survey of college graduates in China.

China will have a record of 7.95 million graduating students joining the labor force this year. Zhaopin conducted its 2017 survey of college graduates to analyze their employability, based on their perceptions of the labor market, job-hunting efforts and results. About 93,420 college graduates participated in the survey this year, including junior college graduates, undergraduates and graduate students.

Strong overall market

There are signs that the overall labour is showing signs of strengthening in line with overall economy gaining momentum. This has been evidenced by the CIER index compiled by Zhaopin and Renmin University, which tracks the ratio of job vacancies to job seekers in a variety of industries and cities across the country, rose to 1.91 in the first quarter of 2017, from 1.71 during the same period of 2016.

The rising index is an indication that the labour market had improved with the economy, as was reported in April.

But certain challenges exist for graduates

However, not all parts of the labour market are strengthening. The record size of this year’s graduating class is posing unique challenges for graduates. With such a large graduating class this year, new job seekers still face a daunting challenge, especially those from less well-known universities outside the top tier.

To help address some of these challenges, Zhaopin has developed the National Employability Test to both help graduates and employers identify suitable talents.

See: More Than 42% Candidates in China Reject Job Offers Due to Counter Offers

Highlights of Zhaopin’s 2017 report on college graduates

  • About 40.8% of graduates believe the labour market was very challenging this year, up from 36.5% last year.
  • 7% of college graduates had signed employment contracts this year, down from 35.4% last year.
  • The average monthly salary for college graduates declined by 16% this year to RMB4,014.
  • The average monthly salary for male graduates was RMB4,374, higher than RMB3,624 for female graduates.
  • The IT/telecom/electronics/internet sector offered the highest monthly salary of RMB4,867, followed by RMB4,692 in the financial sector and RMB4,457 for the traffic/transportation/logistics/warehousing sector.
  • Trying to secure a job, 41.3% of graduates submitted 11 to 30 resumes this year, and 11.7% even gave out more than 51 resumes to potential employers.

For the first time since Zhaopin started the survey in 2014, “opportunities to learn and grow” overtook “good salary and welfare” as the most important factor for college graduates in assessing jobs.

It was more difficult to get interview opportunities this year. 31.9% of college graduates got 1 to 3 interviews, and 27.1% had 4 to 5 interviews. About 8.3% of graduates did not get any interviews this year, up from 3% last year.

By the end of April this year, 27.7% of college graduates still had not received any job offer, higher than the 24.8% seen last year. Meanwhile, 50.2% of graduates got 1 to 3 job offers, lower than the 55.4% last year.

About 26.7% of college graduates had signed employment contracts this year, down from 35.4% last year. 29.5% of male graduates and 24.7% of female graduates signed contracts this year.

Among graduates who already signed employment contracts, 33.5% choose to work in first-tier cities and 33.1% would go to emerging first-tier cities. Emerging first-tier cities were actually more attractive to college graduates as 37.5% of them desired to find jobs there.

Changing attitude

As to future plans after graduation, about 73.5% of graduates would find a job. Students planning for further education in China dropped sharply to 6.3% this year, from 16.5% last year. Students planning for further education overseas also declined to 3.4% this year, from 4.8% last year. Nearly 10% of graduates said they don’t intend to take a job after graduation. They would like to take some time off to travel, do volunteer work, or spend time with parents.

What is the ideal job for college graduates? About 55.9% of graduates preferred jobs with “opportunities to learn and grow”, while 52.2% chose “good salary and welfare”. It was the first time since Zhaopin started the survey in 2014 that “opportunities to learn and grow” had overtaken “good salary and welfare” as the most important factor for college graduate to assess a job.

College graduates were more rational with overtime. They would work overtime when necessary to complete urgent projects, finish their own work, or improve their skills. About 40.3% of graduates would accept 2 to 5 hours of overtime a week, and 23.1% could work overtime 5 to 8 hours a week.

Also read: Slow Down in Salary Growth of White-Collar Workers in China in Q1 2017

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