Beijing loses its allure as grads put off by expense, pressures

10:01, May 30, 2011      

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University graduates are shunning major cities like Beijing due to heavy work pressure and high living costs, according to a new study.

China's capital used to be a top destination for young people fresh out of college. Just five years ago, 80 percent of graduates from University of International Business and Economics alone wanted jobs in Beijing, said Zhuang Hongyan, deputy director of its career center.

However, research shows that roughly half of all grads would now prefer to work in smaller cities, such as provincial capitals.

Researchers at the Beijing Youth Stress Management Service Center interviewed 8,821 students and found that just 1,798 were in favor of living in metropolises like Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou. More than 32.6 percent even admitted wanting to work in small counties and towns.

"Increasing food costs and skyrocketing housing prices are the primary reasons that stop university students from staying in Beijing," said Xiong Hanzhong, director of the center, which carried out the study in partnership with Sina.

Figures from Renmin University of China show that the average monthly rental price in Beijing is 2,947 yuan, while the average monthly salary for someone with a college degree is just 2,400 yuan.

The rapid economic and cultural development in second-tier cities is also proving a big draw for new graduates, said Xiong. "Today, students are very rational. For them, personal development is a priority. Many companies in second-tier cities are expanding quickly and provide more opportunities," he added.

Wang Biao, a third-year student at China University of Geosciences, told METRO that he plans to either return to his hometown in Hebei province or head to the Inner Mongolia autonomous region after graduation.

He explained that during a recent on-campus job fair he talked with a company in Handan, Hebei, that offers employees free housing. "This is the biggest attraction for me. I may never be able to realize the dream of owning my own house in Beijing," said the 21-year-old, who majored in underground water science and engineering.

In the center's report, which was released last week during a forum on job stress management for students, researches also detailed another trend found during the study: that graduates now expect higher salaries than previous generations.

Salary expectations for students with bachelor's degrees or higher have almost doubled compared to the same period last year. The ideal salary is 4,500 to 5,000 yuan for a graduate, 6,000 to 6,500 yuan for a postgraduate and 9,000 to 10,000 yuan for a doctoral degree holder.

Source: China Daily
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