Don’t Be So Picky About a Job, China’s College Graduates Are Told

The New York Times’ Claire Fu and Daisuke Wakabayashi released an article this week covering employment challenges for recent college graduates in China. According to the New York Times, “China’s unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds in urban areas hit a record 21.3 percent in June”.

Duke community members in China: what are you seeing in terms of employment trends for recent graduates? How can current Duke students best position themselves to be successful in this job market? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at:

Here’s an excerpt from the Times’ article:

“And as more young people pursued higher education, there has been a mismatch in the jobs they want versus what is available. China’s economy has not created enough of the high-paying white-collar jobs that many college graduates are seeking, intensifying competition for the most appealing roles.

After economic growth slowed significantly in the second quarter, Beijing released a 31-point package of policy initiatives and support measures in July encouraging private companies to add jobs.

In a May report about China’s youth unemployment, Goldman Sachs said young people were especially vulnerable to losing their jobs or not getting hired in economic downturns because they have less work experience.

In June, China’s Ministry of Education told schools and local officials to help graduates find jobs “with a sense of duty and urgency,” citing the concern of the Communist Party and the government’s top leaders.

The ministry also told Communist Party officials and school administrators that they should visit companies to seek out job openings for students in majors with low employment rates. In Hunan Province, the education department recently issued a notice that requires schools to submit an explanation if more than 20 percent of graduates find part-time or freelance work instead of a full-time job. Sichuan Province said its colleges would consider canceling majors with a low employment rate for two straight years.

Increasingly, the message being handed down to young people is that they should not be too selective in picking a job and that enduring tough times builds character. Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, said young people should strive to work in difficult and remote areas and learn to “eat bitterness,” a Chinese expression that means to endure hardship. But even becoming an entry-level civil servant is more challenging these days, with vastly more people taking the entrance examination than jobs available.”

Read the full article here…

By Hal Matthews (he/him)
Hal Matthews (he/him) Associate Director, Global Careers