China’s graduates long for a job at Alibaba and Huawei

Popularity of working for the mainland's technology giants, not foreign multinationals, continues to grow

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 June, 2017, 8:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 June, 2017, 8:32am

E-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group Holding and Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, have topped this year’s rankings of the most coveted employers for mainland China’s university students, according to a new survey.

About 80,000 students from 110 mainland universities participated in the annual online poll, which Sweden-based employer-branding company Universum has conducted in the country since 2006 to track the career aspirations of the domestic market’s future talent pool.

“One of the key trends that we can’t afford to ignore in recent years is the growing popularity of domestic technology giants,” said William Wu, Universum’s country manager for the mainland. “Their international counterparts no longer have a competitive advantage in attracting young Chinese talent.”

Alibaba, operator of the biggest online retail and business-to-business e-commerce platforms on the mainland, has repeated as the “most ideal” employer in the student survey’s business category.

The New York-listed company, which owns the South China Morning Post, was ranked second in 2015 and sixth in 2014.

For the fourth consecutive year, privately held Huawei was ranked the top choice for employer in the survey’s engineering category.

The Shenzhen-based company moved a spot up to take second place in the business category behind Alibaba.

Tencent Holdings, the world’s biggest video games company and operator of popular social messaging platform WeChat, ranked second in the engineering category and ninth in the business category.

Alibaba and online search giant Baidu were listed as third and fourth, respectively, in the engineering rankings.

“Over the past decade we have seen a significant shift in candidate behaviour and aspiration towards Chinese-owned and headquartered companies, particularly in the technology sector,” Anthony Thompson, the regional managing director for Greater China, Southeast Asia and India at recruitment specialist PageGroup.

“A key driver behind this has been the strong growth in Asia and globally of these organisations and their genuine investment in employer branding. Many employees also recognise that these Chinese multinationals offer the same international mobility opportunities as the traditional multinationals.”

Typically known for their competitive compensation package and long working hours, Chinese technology companies are also most desired for their entrepreneurial spirit and creative working environment, according to Universum.

It found the average monthly salary expectations for male students start at 8,218 yuan (US$1,208), compared with 7,263 yuan for female students.

The latest mainland survey also showed that Chinese students still consider so-called “work/life balance” as their top career goal, which echoes the overall trend from Universum’s annual global talent survey.

In addition, Universum found the percentage of mainland students who want to work for a start-up or build their own business after graduation has reached a historic high of 20 per cent this year.