China's college graduates earn less than migrant rural workers?

17:16, September 17, 2010      

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"The 1980s generation in China has every reason to worry about the soaring housing prices and the unstable job market. In fact, we college graduates earn even less than migrant rural workers," a netizen with the screen name "Wu Xin Xiao" recently posted a thread titled "Better for a College Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree to Work as a Construction Laborer in Xi'an than to be an Office Worker" in a Web forum. The phenomenon that the salaries of many college graduates are incredibly lower than those of migrant rural workers has again provoked a heated discussion on the Internet.

According to the post, the average daily wage of construction laborers in Xi'an is about 150 yuan, not to mention the free meals and accommodations, which can save them 1,000 yuan a month. They can also earn some extra money by collecting and selling scrap iron and steel, so they normally earn 5,000 yuan a month, which is a pretty handsome income in Xi'an.

They can buy a car or a house, though possibly on mortgage payments, after working for a few years and having enough money in their bank accounts. By comparison, a relatively high monthly salary of college graduates with a bachelor's degree who work in Xi'an is around 4,000 yuan, and the majority of them can only earn between 2,000 and 3,000 yuan a month.

The monthly salary of many fresh graduates is less than 2,000 yuan or even only several hundred yuan.

"The salary is too low for us to even hope to buy a house or car, and we do not think the situation will be better," many netizens complained.

"Where do you think you are? America? France? If you have time, please go and see in person what the work of construction laborers is really like," a netizen nemed "Bucket" expressed his doubts about the high income of laborers claimed by "Wu Xin Xiao."

However, most netizens have not paid much attention to the incredibly high income. Instead, the focus of the discussion is whether it is reasonable for a poorly-educated construction laborer to earn more than a well-educated college graduate.

"I think that wages of migrant workers should be higher than undergraduates because migrant workers usually work for at least 14 hours a day from morning (around 6 a.m.) to dark (around 9 p.m.) and they work as hard as horses and cattle, while their food is as bad as that for dogs and pigs, (special reminder: meals of migrant workers are not free and are worse than street food. One adult spends 10 to 15 yuan per day on meals,)" said a netizen named "willows on both sides of the Weihe River" who is very familiar with migrant workers. He believes migrant workers should earn more money than college students.

Some netizens also asked college students questions such as, "Will an undergraduate work in a job if there are no Sunday holidays, labor insurance benefits, or all kinds of insurances, and no one will care about you if you are unemployed, sick, crippled or old? If any undergraduate is jealous of the high wages of migrant workers, he or she could directly work in construction sites. You can save money by participating in recruitment fairs and it is not necessary to fill forms, have written tests and interviews or do backdoor deals."

A netizen named "Xiao Se" believes this phenomenon should lead to the deep thinking of society.

"Wages of migrant workers being higher than college students is not the migrant workers' fault. This phenomenon is caused by the unbalance between China's current education system and employment system. We blindly implement increased university enrollment and extremely praise higher education, while we did not notice that the employment system is far behind the education system. General speaking, it is the result of education industrialization. If a country's fundamental purpose of education is to make money, no one will be worried that college students cannot find jobs after they graduate from universities. This is a problem that deserves the deep thinking of related education departments and labor security departments," "Xiao Se" said.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:叶欣)

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