Observer: Stabilizing employment prioritized in China amid the pandemic
By Han Xiaomeng
People's Daily app


Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government has taken a string of measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and boost employment. It’s reported that a national campaign, dubbed a 100-day dash, targeting the employment and entrepreneurship of college graduates, will be launched in May and run until August.

During the campaign, jointly implemented by the Ministry of Education and five other departments and units, various measures have been outlined, including expanding enrollment for higher education and creating more jobs at the grassroots level.

Employment has always been a critical issue that the Chinese government prioritizes, as it is closely related to people’s livelihood and social stability. With the economic downward trend likely to continue over the short term as the resumption of work and production is underway, making sure that university graduates have places to go after they get out of campus is increasingly urgent and necessary.

Due to the backdrop of the pandemic, 2020 is a difficult time, with a record high of over 8.74 million university graduates and a smaller pool of jobs. As pursuing a higher degree is a desired option for many students who are not that eager to enter a career path, the Chinese government has made utmost efforts to expand postgraduate enrollment by nearly 190,000 this year. 

For those who are seeking jobs and starting their own businesses, the government has expanded its channels of employment and entrepreneurship. A targeted plan to increase job offers at the grassroots level has been initiated, with a recruitment campaign for teachers at special positions set up to increase the number of positions by 5,000 to a total of 105,000. Such grassroots positions cover a wide range of areas including scientific research, community service and medical care. Meanwhile, more college graduates will be enlisted into the army for those who fancy wearing military uniforms.

Not only will such policies benefit the graduates, but also enterprises. State-owned enterprises will continue to recruit more college graduates in the coming two years. Authorities will also cut tax burdens, provide unemployment insurance and offer credit and loans in an effort to help micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises to reduce layoffs and secure more job positions for job hunters.

With the ongoing social distancing trend to curb the spread of the virus, online job recruitment campaigns are prospering. There are also around-the-clock job fairs and live training sessions for college graduates. On-site campus recruitment will also be put in place after students are allowed to go back to campus and resume classes.

Authorities are also facilitating employment in Hubei, the country’s hardest-hit province by the COVID-19 and other poverty-stricken regions. A dozen policies have been launched to target college graduates in Hubei. Graduates in 52 poverty-stricken counties will be classified in files to follow up each individual’s job-hunting process.

Along with employment, stimulus plans for entrepreneurship have been promoted at the same time. Education and competitions to boost entrepreneurship of college graduates have been set up to inspire students to start their own businesses.

The Chinese government’s focus on employment and entrepreneurship is also a mirror of the governing capacity of the country. Western countries are noted for offering safety net programs, giving unemployment compensation to aid the low-income residents. The Chinese government is taking a more active role to create more opportunities and spur the entrepreneurial spirit of fresh graduates and the jobless.

“It’s more helpful to teach people how to fish rather than to just give them fish.” This old Chinese saying reflects the policy orientation of the Chinese government. Rather than simply giving subsistence allowances, the government has made ways for the jobless to hunt for more opportunities and shine on a potential career path. Such a motive will also serve as a roadmap for all job seekers who feel frustrated finding a position amid the pandemic.