This past year in China, more than 7 million people graduated college and entered into “the hardest job hunting season ever” according to the Chinese state media.
The high demand for jobs is in part due to the 1990 movement to expand access to higher education. The motivation behind this movement was to alleviate the pressure on high school graduates to get jobs in a difficult job market by sending them to University for an additional four years before they once again entered the job market. This movement didn’t do much to help the job market; instead it postponed the issue, which is partially why current Chinese college graduates may find themselves in the current job crunch.
It is clear that China is having problems with finding jobs for their recent graduates, however, to put the issue into perspective in contrast with the United States, China has far fewer graduates entering the job market: only 5% of the population have graduated from college compared to 42% of the United States’ population.
One theory that attempts to explain the slowing job market states that it is due to the slowing economy, however, China’s 7.5% economic growth rate last year is still above the world average despite it being their lowest growth rate in the past 23 years.