Salary climbing for returning graduates

By CAO CHEN in Shanghai (China Daily) 14:52, February 17, 2022

A recent report by Zhaopin, a major online recruitment platform, showed a surge for three years in a row in the average salary for graduates who completed degrees overseas and secured jobs back in China, hitting 13,719 yuan ($2,159) per month last year, up 8.9 percent year-on-year.

The figure was almost double the average salary of all jobs included in data from the platform.

The total number of graduates studying overseas and finding jobs in China last year was roughly the same as in 2020, according to the report. It showed students studying abroad kept opting to secure jobs in China last year, driven by substantial opportunities and a network of friends and family.

It also revealed that effective policies to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the convenient living environment and a familiar culture in China are major contributing factors.

The data was based on an online survey of 1,875 individuals who pursued degrees in foreign countries and found jobs through the platform last year.

The report highlighted that the culture and education industry has the highest proportion (34.9 percent) of openings giving priority to graduates studying overseas, followed by information technology (19.3 percent), business services (13 percent) and finance (11.3 percent).

In addition, roles in manufacturing, energy and research-oriented enterprises attracted more returning students than ever last year, accounting for the biggest year-on-year increases in the number of resumes received on the platform.

Zhang Yixin, a 22-year-old graduate in chemistry from Queen's University in Canada, is among the young people developing a career in China.

After graduating and returning to Changsha, Hunan's provincial capital, last year, Zhang spent a month attending online job affairs, seeking opportunities referred to her by friends and doing interviews until November when she found a position as a science teacher at a foreign-funded education institution in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

"The slots related to my major were often for firms located in remote areas. It's hard to find a perfect job that I like and am able to learn things from," Zhang said.

"Despite the hardship in job hunting, I insisted on returning to China. As the country upholds efforts for sustainable development, the environmental technology and materials markets I'm interested in are rising."

Zhang hopes her first job will sharpen her skills and broaden her knowledge of chemistry, laying the foundation for future opportunities.

The number of returning students intending to work in second-and third-tier cities grew last year.

"Smaller cities offering less competition and life burden than the major metropolises are suitable for fresh graduates who expect economic independence," Zhang said.

Sun Shiqi, who has a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Alberta in Canada, said she would explore positions in the first-tier city of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, after her postgraduate study, where her degree would be a perfect fit.

"Many financial enterprises have offices in Shenzhen. For me, salary won't be a decisive factor to select a career path, as long as it's a prosperous industry with development potential," the 23-year-old said.

Despite the upsides, the report also found that the number of jobs prioritizing returning students in recruitment in China has been decreasing in the past three years, and a majority of those surveyed (83.1 percent) said they face fierce job-hunting pressure.

"With the increased domestic capacity for quality higher education, enterprises are shown to favor talent with superior knowledge of the local situation," said Li Qiang, executive vice-president of Zhaopin.

"It's crucial for those studying abroad to keep up to date about the Chinese market to remain commercially aware, improve capabilities and select their majors based on multiple factors including national policies, industry development and personal interest."

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Bianji)


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