CHINA People's Daily Tonight: Podcast News (7/8/2018 Sun.)


People's Daily Tonight: Podcast News (7/8/2018 Sun.)

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19:47, July 08, 2018

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Graduates taking their time before entering job market

More and more university graduates are taking a gap year before they start working. 


(Photos: VCG)

There are 8.2 million college graduates this year, a record number. Now, the new trend of taking time before starting a career is grabbing a lot of attention.

Some new graduates are taking their time before applying for work. Others are planning to start a business. Some are pursuing higher education, becoming volunteers or hitting the road in order to find themselves.

Such approaches are definitely different from the traditional graduates’ lifestyle of yesteryear. 

Slowing down the pace of life before entering the workforce is getting more and more popular among the generation born in 1990s, according to statistics. 


The young people of this generation might seem rational to wait before making a key decision when they stand at an important crossroads of their life. But the popularity of the gap year also indicates the reality that it is rather challenging for these young people to find a position they consider satisfying as a career. 

Since higher education became more widely available after a policy shift in 1999, a lack of job opportunities has become a growing issue. The number of graduates has grown rapidly, breaking a new record every year since 2003. At the same time, the demand for graduates in the job market has hardly grown, leaving unemployment for graduates an increasing problem. 

Graduates need to take various factors into account while landing an ideal job. For instance, they need to decide which city they would like to be based in. Should they be near to their parents, or endure homesickness while staying in cities with more job opportunities? They also need to handle difficulties such as facing a very long job search if they decide to quit one job and find a new one.

The job market in China is still focused on physical labor, while graduates prefer office work instead of on the factory floor.

This imbalance between supply and demand in the job market makes it difficult to find work for graduates.

China's economic growth has been mainly driven by the manufacturing industry. There are opportunities in the low-end service industry, but they are not appealing to graduates. Opportunities in the high-end service industry that can create more employment for college students are yet to be developed.

Even though college education is gaining in popularity, many colleges and universities' educational concepts, curriculum and teaching methods are still focused on elite and abstract knowledge. Thus a gap between the job market and graduates’ skillsets is inevitable. 

Most millennial graduates are not keen to find a job.  

Their middle class families are relatively well off, so they do not need to worry about putting rice on the table.

The millennial are self-centered, not putting their family responsibilities first. 

Meanwhile people are increasingly understanding and accepting of the "gap year" approach of graduates, giving them a certain amount of support.

The popularity of a post-bachelors gap year also reflects trends in social transformation. As China’s economy enters a new normal, the employment opportunities brought about by the development of the real economy are slow, and it is difficult to fully meet the employment needs of university graduates.

The development of new technologies and new business models has provided opportunities for employment with more flexibility and diversity. 

The Chinese government has taken measures to offer preferential environment for graduates’ start-ups, such as entrepreneurial loans and tax breaks. 

Graduates now have more entrepreneurial opportunities, and they need time to get familiar with the market. These are factors making the gap year phenomenon increasingly popular. 

To some extent, today’s graduates have more mature thinking about their future. By taking their time, they can improve the quality of their employment and increase the possibility of career satisfaction.


And that's People's Daily Tonight, thanks for joining us.

(Article written by Dong Feng, audio produced by Chi Jingyi and Qiao Wai)

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