In pics: Record numbers of Chinese graduates enter worst job market in decades

Updated: Jun 23, 2022, 03:18 PM(IST)

China's Covid restrictions have battered an economy already slowing due to a property market downturn, geopolitical worries and regulatory crackdowns on tech, education and other sectors.

A cohort of graduates larger than the entire population of Portugal is about to enter one of China's worst job markets in decades at a time when youth unemployment is already more than three times China's overall joblessness rate, at a record 18.4%.

(Text: Reuters)

'Decades of breakneck growth'

Struggling to find jobs goes against what educated young people have come to expect after decades of breakneck growth, and is awkward for China's stability-obsessed Communist Party, especially in a year when President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a precedent-breaking third leadership term.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Top government priority

Premier Li Keqiang has said stabilising the job market for graduates is a top government priority. Companies granting internship posts to new graduates will receive subsidies, on top of other perks aimed at boosting employment in general.

Some regional governments have offered cheap loans to graduates looking to launch their own businesses. State-backed firms are expected to pick up some of the slack in private sector entry-level jobs.

(Photograph:Reuters)

The tech sector

The tech sector has been a significant employer of many Chinese graduates, but this year the industry is trimming its workforce, recruiters say.

A regulatory crackdown prompted many of China's tech giants including Tencent and Alibaba to make massive job cuts. A combined total of tens of thousands have lost their jobs in the sector this year, five tech industry sources told Reuters.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Slow hiring

Rockee Zhang, Managing Director for Greater China at recruitment firm Randstad, says China's entry-level jobs market was worse even than during the 2008-09 global financial crisis, estimating new jobs falling 20-30% from last year.

Expected salaries are also 6.2% lower, according to Zhilian Zhaopin, another recruitment firm.

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Bad luck with the economy'

In China, being jobless for some time after graduation is typically frowned upon by employers. Many families see it as a humiliation rather than bad luck with the economy.

Taking blue-collar jobs after getting a university degree also often draws disapproval, so to avoid long gaps in their CVs, record numbers are applying for post-graduate studies, official data show.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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