Choose me, beg the Chinese

| April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

At the end of 2017, eight million students graduated from Chinese universities. It is, says British academic, Katherine Stapleton, “The largest influx of university-educated workers into the labour market in history.”

Education researchers have often commented on the fact that there are too many Chinese graduates and not enough jobs. According to the Beijing-based MyCOS Research Institute, the first company in China to specialise in higher education management data analytics, only 8% of students who graduated in 2015 were employed six months after graduating.

MyCOS has refined the data on unemployment in China, saying that graduates are finding jobs. The problem is that they’re far too qualified for these often part-time, entry-level positions. The high cost of living in China, particularly in big cities, has forced millions of graduates into “ant tribes” of urban workers living in squalid conditions – often in basements – working long hours in low-paid jobs.

Freshly graduated engineers, economists and scientists are having better luck finding decent jobs with decent salaries and promotion possibilities. The government has pushed the slogan “Made in China 2025” and concomitantly has made careers in information technology and robotics particularly attractive.

China is not the only country that relies on rigid standards for students. Unfortunately, the outcome is often graduates who have honed “hard” technical abilities, but lack what many call 21st century “soft” skills, such as the ability to adapt, to communicate and collaborate. Multiple surveys report that companies are looking specifically for such skills. Until the education system takes such research to heart, then, millions of “ants” will continue to live in anguish.

 

Category: Autumn 2018

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