China's university graduates stumped over jobs, life and politics

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 6:56pm

Employment prospects are looking increasingly grim amongst many “post-80s and 90s” university graduates and students across the country according to a recent report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The CASS Blue Book of China’s Society revealed that only 76 per cent of 2012 graduates had been able to find jobs, Caijing reported on Monday. 

The CASS conducted a survey on 2,000 students and graduates from 12 colleges and universities across China.

When asked about their outlook on jobs, only 30 per cent of university students felt they would be able to find work successfully and most students said they lacked confidence in the job market.

Even among those who have found work, job satisfaction has been low, with about two-thirds of 2011 graduates claiming to have worked at least 1 to 2 different jobs since graduation. Job hopping has become commonplace, according to the report. Only 1.6 per cent of university graduates felt satisfied with their employment situation.

Analysts believe satisfaction among graduates is linked to home ownership and marriage, as those in this category reported higher levels of personal satisfaction.

Meanwhile, as out-of-reach property prices make homeownership increasingly difficult, more than 70 per cent of college students now feel they belong to the "lower" or "lower-middle" class demographic.

A dismal outlook on employment and life among post-80s and 90s youths tied in rather fittingly with an increase in sociopolitical awareness.

More than half of all those polled in the CASS survey said they were “interested in political affairs” and about two-thirds of university students and university graduates felt they “had the ability to participate in public affairs decision making”. A similar number felt they were “qualified to evaluate government actions".

Social security and private property also appear to be of high importance to Chinese youths. The survey showed 64 per cent of university students and 70 per cent of university graduates “strongly favouring” private property over state-owned property. The number of students and graduates who agreed that  “sacrificing personal interests for state interests was outdated" was split evenly with those who disagreed. 

According to the Ministry of Education, Chinese universities produced 6.8 million university graduates in 2012, all vying for work in an increasingly competitive job market. 

Recent figures published by the Chinese Household Finance Survey  also revealed a 16.4 per cent urban unemployment rate amongst youths aged 21 to 25.