Labor market in China has become increasingly difficult for recent college graduates, with youth unemployment reaching record highs. Although many young people do eventually find jobs, the jobs they do get are often inferior in pay and relevant to their fields of study. This article explores the current state of the labor market in China, highlights the difficulties faced by university graduates and sheds light on the reasons for the high youth unemployment rate.
Fierce competition and growing job demands in Labor Market
Chinese students face fierce competition for job opportunities, with some resorting to sending hundreds of resumes in their job search. This increased competition is further exacerbated by companies’ lack of certainty about the future, which leads them to hesitate to hire young people who need additional training despite their level of education.
Youth unemployment rate in Labor Market
The unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds in China hit a record high of 21.3% in June, a trend that has persisted for three years. This contrasts with the overall unemployment rate for urban areas, which has remained well below around 5%. By comparison, the United States saw an increase in youth unemployment during the pandemic, but has since seen a decline to around 7% from 2023.
Impact of economic downturn to Labor Market
China’s economic recovery from the pandemic has slowed, leading to lower hiring plans in various sectors.The real estate sector, in particular, has yet to show signs of recovery. Industries once popular with recent college graduates, such as semiconductors, have also undergone a shift, making job hunting even more difficult.
The Changing Landscape in the Semiconductor Industry
The semiconductor industry, once considered a “hot” sector for expansion, has reached a period of stability. Graduates looking for opportunities in this sector must now navigate a more competitive landscape, as the number of vacancies has decreased due to the effects of the pandemic and regulatory changes.
Record Graduate Class and Dwindling Job Opportunities
The class of 2023 includes an incredible 11.6 million students, leading to a large influx of job seekers. However, some industries have seen a reduction in vacancies due to various factors, including the pandemic and regulatory changes.
Optimistic outlook for the future
Experts predict that youth unemployment rates will decline towards the end of the year, after the summer graduation season. Additionally, as many Chinese families have become more affluent, young graduates have the luxury of taking their time to prepare for college exams and find jobs that offer a balance between work and private life.
Changing Graduate Attitudes
Recent world events have led some graduates to take a more relaxed approach to job hunting. Many young people now see the pointlessness of over-planning and instead choose to take more time to prepare for career opportunities.
Alternative activities: civil service and higher education
Seeking job stability, an increasing number of graduates are seeking civil service positions and applying for higher education. The civil service exam registered a record 7.7 million candidates, while more than 4.7 million registered for the graduate school exam.
China university graduates face a tough labor market with record youth unemployment rates. Competition for available positions is intense, and graduates often have to settle for jobs that don’t match their fields of study or salary expectations. Current uncertainties in the labor market, as well as changes in various sectors, have contributed to this difficult situation. However, experts predict improvements in the employment landscape over the year. Graduates also adapt their strategies, taking advantage of alternative options for career growth and stability.