This year, China expects to see the largest group of college graduates, with 10.76 million students set to leave campus. However, these graduates are entering a tough job market due to the economic uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and domestic industrial restructuring. Sectors such as the internet, real estate, and education have faced regulatory crackdowns and market contraction, leading to employer cost-cutting and downsizing.
This has resulted in a 4.5% decline in job openings for new graduates in Q1 2021 compared to the previous year, according to leading recruitment service provider Zhaopin.com. The employment pressure on college students is expected to continue for the next few years due in part to a structural mismatch between the qualifications of many new graduates and the job market's demands.
Data from China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security shows that the manufacturing industry accounts for the most significant portion of the demand for talent in China (38.7%), followed by the wholesale and retail sectors. However, new graduates are more interested in jobs in internet and communications, real estate and construction, culture and media, and finance.
Graduates are either unwilling or not eligible for employment in sectors that have the most urgent need for workers. The high-tech chipmaking and low-end manufacturing sectors have labour shortages, but many graduates are unwilling to take these jobs due to their perceived low prestige. There is also a growing trend of students seeking more stable careers in the state sector, with the number of applicants for civil servant exams increasing significantly. The Chinese government has implemented training programs, internship opportunities, and subsidies for businesses that hire college graduates to tackle this issue.