Fresh grads in China face job crunch as economy slows

Fresh grads in China face job crunch as economy slows

By Kristine Lim
POSTED: 01 Aug 2013 8:50 PM
Fresh graduates in China are facing what has been described as the toughest employment season ever. The job crunch is worse in major cities.

BEIJING: Fresh graduates in China are facing what has been described as the toughest employment season ever. The job crunch is worse in major cities. Nearly seven million students graduate from college this year, the highest number since the PRC was founded in 1949. Although this is less than a three per cent increase from 2012, the situation is complicated by a lack of jobs as a result of slowing economic growth. In Beijng, government and state-owned enterprises have cut job vacancies for fresh graduates by 14 per cent compared to a year ago.It does not help that the current generation of fresh graduates are also more picky about jobs.

Wu Wei, a fresh graduate, said: “I want to have a look at more options to find a suitable job that I like.”

Wang Wen, another fresh graduate, wanted to take it slow. He said: “Because I’ve already interned for a period of time, my mentality now is that I’ll rather take it slow to ensure I find a suitable job.”

Edy Wang, senior manager of marketing and PR at, said: “Graduates still have rather high expectations. With the uncertain economic outlook, many of them are looking for stability and will prefer a government job or work in a state-owned enterprise.”

Hao Jie, deputy general manager at FESCO, attributed their pickiness to the lack of pressure. He said: “This year’s fresh graduates belong to the post-90s generation and are in single-child families. Especially for urban children, they don’t face much pressure (to work for a living) and so tend to take their time to choose.”

HR experts said those with internship experience will have an added advantage, but they also advise candidates to keep expectations realistic.

John Sung, operations director for north and west China at Kelly Services, said: “They are in a rush for the recognition, they are in a rush for the money, they are in a rush for many things. Most of them would like to be a CEO after five years maybe.”

Universities and colleges have been expanding their enrolment because of the money to be made. This year alone, nine million students are taking the college entrance exams. Coupled with a slowdown in economic growth, finding jobs for this workforce is a challenge the Chinese government needs to tackle before it it is too late.

One way would be to develop the opportunities in China’s second and third tier cities as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou already have a mature job market. The key would be to raise the quality and appeal of the companies there in order to attract and absorb these job seekers.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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