Amid the massive enrollment expansion of Chinese universities since 1999 and the global economic downturn, finding a desirable job in China is not easy for most new graduates.
Statistics show that only 62 percent of 177,000 graduates in Shanghai found jobs upon graduation in 2015, resulting in high unemployment rates in the city.
Ironically, more than half of all recent Chinese graduates in first-tier cities end up quitting their new jobs within the first two months, according to the figures released by recruitment platform 58.com.
A large percentage was said to be dissatisfied with their salaries while others sought work that would allow them to better improve their skills. A small number ultimately decided it would be easier just to return to higher education or go travel.
Analysts are trying to uncover the real reasons behind this bizarre trend of graduates giving up so soon after entering China's job market.
Some say that post-1990s and millennial-generation Chinese are notorious for being quick to quit, and others are outright criticizing them for being spoiled, immature and impatient - hallmark personality traits of today's young Chinese.
As a university student in my senior year, I can offer some perspective into this perplexing trend. You see, after spending our entire childhoods preparing for gaokao (the national college entrance exams) followed by four years in a university, it's understandable that many Chinese grads would prefer time off to play, travel, party or simply rest before diving into a lifelong career.
Additionally, as my fellow intern, Zhang Qin, here at the Global Times Metro Shanghai wrote in a recent TwoCents article, "Chinese students tend to sacrifice their personal interests in order to get accepted by a better-ranked university that may not offer their first choice of majors ... the decision of which major to pursue is usually influenced or wholly decided by our parents or teachers."
This, then, is also why so many Chinese grads find themselves feeling dissatisfied or downright depressed about their new jobs. It doesn't help that we are pushed by our families into a profession for which we may have no passion, leading to compromising our personal happiness.
Choosing a vocation and dedicating our lives to it is not as easy today as it was for our parents and grandparents. More options, along with more educated, eligible candidates, mean that most of us will have to enter a job at the very bottom, settling for minimal salaries.
Nonetheless, a few uni students I know are one step ahead of the rat race. There's a girl in my grade who has attended six internships throughout her undergrad years in order to identify a career she will be most competent in, then narrow down which specific company she'd most prefer working for. She is a true inspiration not just to our generation but to me personally.
This leads to my own internship here at the Global Times. Originally hailing from North China, I came to Shanghai to study because it is an ever-evolving metropolis full of opportunities.
Over the past three years I have tried to take advantage of all my spare time; instead of lazing around my dorm room, I have worked a number of part-time jobs and internships. I originally wanted to be an English interpreter, but my current internship as a journalist has allowed me to expand my horizons.
Quitting a salaried job right after starting is a permanent blight on your dossier; prospective employers will see how unreliable and irresponsible you are and probably not want to take a chance spending time and money on training you if they think you are just going to jump ship.
Indubitably, more than high scores or skill sets, what recruiters seek in young candidates are loyalty, persistence and strong character.
Yes, older companies may want to consider altering their archaic business models and outdated recruitment practices to better suit the impatient mind-sets of millennials; after all, it is us who will soon be taking over those companies.
But until then, it is wholly up to undergrads to prepare themselves for today's uncertain job market.
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