Rough road to jobs for China’s new graduates | Inquirer Opinion

Rough road to jobs for China’s new graduates

KUALA LUMPUR — The Covid-19 pandemic may have stopped people from traveling and closed businesses for some time, but life still went on for everyone in the world.

In China, June and July are graduation months, and a record high of 8.74 million will be graduating from colleges throughout the country this year.


Due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, they had to complete the rest of their courses via distance learning and will not be having proper graduation ceremonies like their seniors did.

But just like their seniors, they will be faced with the pressure of looking for and getting a job. And they will be in for greater challenges and tougher times in view of the global recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.


Given the fact that some 30% of graduates were unable to find jobs during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) period, the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a more devastating impact, could make the situation even worse.

One netizen said she started applying for jobs late last year.

“I went for a few interviews, but now they are saying they have stopped recruiting new employees,” she said.

“Those who were already working were sacked or had their pay

cut by their companies, not talking about us who have zero experience,” another Internet user said.

But there were also youngsters who were optimistic about their future and said they would be more aggressive in sending out job applications.

At a job recruitment drive in Wuhan city, Hubei province, a mother who was collecting information for her son was recorded on video.


“He is studying foreign language in Macau and graduating this year, I hope he can come back here to work.

“Before this (the pandemic), I saw a lot of recruitment ads in his field but now there are fewer,” she said in the video clip, which was posted on Weibo.

Jiang Juntao, who studied broadcasting and hosting art, knows she cannot be too picky about jobs.

Knowing full well that the road ahead will not be easy for a freshman in the working world, she is grabbing whatever opportunity comes her way.

She is lucky as she has secured a position as a TV host with an online television network.

“Let’s start work first and gain some experience,” said the 24-year-old from Shangdong province, adding that job scope, workplace location and company welfare are among her considerations in her search for a job.

“Like many youngsters, we are not worried about employment but rather the inability to find an ideal job. Dreams and reality are contradictory after all,” she added.

To boost employment, the Chinese government has opened up more vacancies for civil servants and army personnel and created extra positions in government-linked companies for fresh graduates.The business sector, especially small and medium enterprises, are also being encouraged to expand their recruitment drive.

More loans will be offered for those who wish to start businesses.

The Education Ministry has also expanded the enrollment of postgraduate and degree top-up programs for school-leavers, and created more jobs in education and research fields, among others.

Malaysian students who graduated from Chinese universities are also facing the pressure of getting jobs.

For Joey Ng, the pandemic has ruined her plan to remain in China upon completing her broadcasting course.

“Based on my field of study, I think I would have better opportunities in China, given the fact that the country has more than 300 television stations.

“Now that I cannot stay in China, I will try to find a job in Malaysia. This is not entirely bad news for me because I’m happy that I can stay in Malaysia,” said the graduate from the Communication University of China in Beijing.

Like other Malaysian students studying in China, Ng, who returned home for the winter break in early January, has been stranded since the Covid-19 outbreak led to both countries closing their borders.

Although the situation in China has improved, the country has yet to welcome the return of foreign students, who are currently doing their courses via distance learning.

Ryan Lim, who graduated with a degree in Human Geography and Urban-Rural Planning from Beijing Normal University, has started flipping though newspapers and online recruiting sites.

“I’m just doing my own survey on prospective jobs. I cannot send out any applications yet as I have not received my certificate,” he said, adding that the academic credentials would be mailed to him by the university.

He is trying his luck in the freight forwarding or media industry.

The Selangor-born Lim, who did in-depth research and analysis on the East Coast Rail Link project, a 640km-railway link connecting different parts of the east coast with the west coast region in Malaysia for his thesis, believes he can contribute his knowledge in the field. But he is also interested in working as a reporter and would like to explore more options.

“Before this, I planned to work in Beijing or Shenzhen, but things have changed,” said Lim, who prefers to be optimistic about his future. Welcome to the working world and good luck, youngsters!

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