Chinese families have long believed that sending their children to study abroad would enhance their career prospects at home. However, for most returning students, China's job market is no longer all that promising.
A survey released this week by the EIC Group, a Chinese international education service provider, suggests nearly half of all Chinese returnees earn no higher than 5,000 yuan (US$790.5) a month, Xinhuanet.com reported.
A student at a career fair. (file photo) [Xinhuanet.com]
Among 7,800 returnees who participated in the survey, 71 percent earn monthly salaries of 3,000 to 10,000 yuan (US$474.3 to US$1,581), and only 15 percent make more than 10,000 yuan a month. In addition, 58 percent are staff workers, while less than 7 percent could obtain higher positions in management or ownership.
The survey also shows that 46 percent of the returnee jobseekers find jobs in private companies, and 32 percent are hired by foreign companies and joint ventures. Although most overseas students are majored in economics or business management, they start their careers in different areas: finance (21 percent), education and entertainment (18 percent), consultancy and law (15 percent), telecom and IT services (9 percent) and manufacturing (5 percent).
Some employment analysts have supported the survey results, saying that the competitive advantages of students who studied abroad have gradually weakened in recent years. Zhao Zhengbao, a specialist in employment counseling, said three factors contributed to this decline.
First of all, the China's job market is becoming increasingly saturated. Secondly, the sharp increase in the number of students studying abroad has led to concerns over the quality of their education and the abilities of these graduates. Finally, the diploma is no longer the only requirement for hunting jobs – professional skills and working experiences have become more important in the eyes of employers.
Due to these changes, Zhao said his advice to those who studied abroad and would like to come home is to first work in foreign countries for two or three years. For those still in China who want to study abroad, Zhao said they should carefully consider the field of study they would pursue before leaving home. And for new graduates, Zhao said improving their abilities and gathering working experiences are more crucial than immediate high positions and salaries.