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Second-tier Chinese cities ‘buy’ graduates at high price

By Shan Xin (People's Daily Online)    17:06, July 03, 2017

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To compete with first-tier cities, second-tier cities put forward a series of preferential policies to attract and retain some of China’s seven million fresh graduates.

About 7.5 million graduates rush into society as graduation season comes. When first-tier cites, such as Beijing and Shanghai, tighten resident requirements, second-tier cities launch special policies to retain the millions of graduates, and encourage their employment and entrepreneurship in these cities.

In the last week, some provincial capitals, including Wuhan, Changsha, Xi'an, and Chengdu, continuously announced their future investment plans to attract the graduates, for example, the policy that allows the granting of household registration before employment.

Wuhan and Xi'an have lowered their requirements for resident registration to the lowest level ever among provincial capitals.

According to policy in Changsha, the capital of central China's Hunan province even provides rewards for fresh graduates, in addition to zero requirements for Hukou (resident registration). The city said it would provide new graduates registered in it with rental and housing subsidies based on their degrees. Graduates with doctor, master, and bachelor degrees can get 15K, 10K, and 6K RMB as rental allowance, respectively; and for those who buy their first homes, 60K and 30K RMB will be given as housing allowance to PhD graduates and postgraduates, respectively.

Besides household registration and cash subsidies, housing is also taken into the consideration in this talent contest. Nanjing and Chengdu provide “talent apartments” and public rental houses to graduates working locally. In Chengdu, it was just announced that outside graduates could check into the “youth talent hotel” for free for seven days.

The talent contest is actually due to the tightening policy of first-tier cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai. The quota for people from other places to register their household in Beijing has been decreasing since 2014, and the population in Shanghai has seen nagative growth since 2015. Among the first-tier cities, only Shenzhen in southern China has kept its talent policy in place.

Second-tier cities realize that talents are significant to their development, so attracting them is just the first step. To retain them, outstanding industries and recourses are the crux. For example, Changsha’s superior entertainment industry attracts media folks, but the Internet and science and technology industries are developing. A report from Lanzhou University showed that second-tier cities are less appealing to graduates than first-tier ones in the areas of Internet, finance, and media.

Actually, for the talents, housing, household registration, and allowances are not the most important factors for deciding whether to settle down in a new place. The key is the development potential. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shan Xin, Chen Lidan)

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