Students come home for families
More overseas students with doctoral degrees are returning home to find jobs so they can be with their families again, research shows.
The Overseas Returnees’ Development Report 2013 estimated that 90.9 percent of people studying abroad had chosen to head back to China because of their parents.
Most were from the post1980 or post-1990 generation and have no siblings, it said.
Wang Yue is a prime example. The 31-year-old recently completed a PhD in adolescent education at Myongji University in South Korea.
“I’m from a single-parent family. My mother didn’t adapt to the life in South Korea and my boyfriend lives in China,” she said.
She is now looking for work as a researcher in Beijing, although she conceded the salaries on offer in China’s first-tier cities are far from her expectations, a fact that has put some of her peers off returning.
“The job market in China is very tough,” she said, explaining that at job interviews she is often one of many candidates with similar backgrounds.
Cheng Jingjing, who spent four years getting a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Sheffield, also returned home to care for her parents. She also has no brothers or sisters.
However, she also has another reason for moving back: bountiful opportunities.
“In terms of technology, manufacturing is shifting from Western countries to China, so the industry needs a lot of people,” she said.
Roughly 78 percent of overseas students are confident of of people studying abroad have chosen to head back to China because of their parents the career prospects in China, according to the 2013 returnees report, produced by the Center for China and Globalization and the Social Sciences Academic Press.
Li Mei, a project director at the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, said many Chinese universities hope to recruit high-level talent with an overseas doctorate or a post doctorate, but companies pay more attention to employees’ working ability, not only their educational background.
“In recent years, more overseas graduates with doctoral degrees have been employed by us and hiring talents with an overseas degree will be a trend in the future,” Liu Jinjin, deputy director of human resources at Social Sciences Academic Press, said at a recent job fair for overseas returnees in Beijing.
“We prefer to hire talents with PhDs because we put more emphasis on academic research, hoping applicants will have a related research background,” she said.
“I’ve received hundreds of applications in just a few hours. About 10 percent of job seekers have an overseas PhD and most of the rest hold master’s degrees.”
Liu said most applicants with a one-year mater’s degree graduated from universities in Britain and are more practice-oriented, but “we like research-oriented postgraduates, meaning they have done some academic research during the study”.
Overseas returnees attend a job fair organized by the Ministry of Education in Beijing on Nov 16.