Record number of graduates face tough job market entry

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Graduates attend a job fair in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 19, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

The population of college graduates is projected to reach a record high this year, turning an already tough job market into a pressure cooker and intensifying the scramble for talent nationwide.

To many new graduates, mega cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Guangdong province, are less attractive because of their high cost of living and greater peer pressure in the job market. And so the graduates are looking elsewhere.

The trend is changing the employment landscape in China, but it's good news for second- and third-tier cities. The mega cities' loss could be their gain in the brain drain game.

A recent report by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said that more than 231,000 college students graduated from universities in Beijing last year, but 37.5 percent of employed graduates chose to work outside the capital.

A female college student surnamed Zhang said that she chose to work in Wuhan, Hubei province, after graduating from Tsinghua University in June, 2018.

"The biggest reason driving me away from Beijing was the living cost," she said. "Though I can earn 8,000 ($1,160) or even 10,000 yuan a month in Beijing, the rent may cost me 3,000 yuan or more each month, let alone other expenses such as meals, transportation and getting together with friends."

In contrast, some so-called new first-tier cities like Chengdu, Sichuan province; Hangzhou, Zhejiang province; and Wuhan have sprung up as new attractions to college graduates for their cheaper living costs and preferential policies to newcomers.

Data cited from Zhaopin, an online recruitment platform, shows that college students slated to graduate in 2019 have higher expectations of working in these cities, than in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

According to the platform, 44 percent of new graduates this year wish to find their jobs in new first-tier cities, while only about 30 percent hope to work in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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