More grad­u­ates choos­ing to work in 2nd-tier cities

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Ts­inghua Univer­sity this sum­mer, Xu Yingqiang left Bei­jing to work for a chem­i­cal trad­ing com­pany in Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince.

“In cities like Chengdu, I can still pur­sue my dreams — but without all the strug­gling,” the 24-year-old grad­u­ate said.

This year, the num­ber of col­lege grad­u­ates in China is ex­pected to reach 7.95 mil­lion, an in­crease of 300,000 over last year, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Other than swarm­ing into megacities such as Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Guangzhou, more stu­dents want to start their ca­reers in sec­ond-tier cities, in­clud­ing provin­cial cap­i­tals and coastal cities, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey.

The sur­vey, which was con­ducted by Zhaopin.com, one of China’s lead­ing re­cruit­ment web­sites, found that 37.5 per­cent of new col­lege grad­u­ates this year wanted to work in sec­ond-tier cities, while 29.9 per­cent pre­ferred top-tier cities.

“A few years ago, only a cou­ple of stu­dents grad­u­at­ing from uni­ver­si­ties out­side Chongqing came for a job in­ter­view,” said Huang Zuge, a hu­man re­sources of­fi­cial at an in­ter­net com­pany in Chongqing. “But this year we have a long line of peo­ple with master’s and doc­toral de­grees from Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Guangzhou.”

Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics fig­ures show that be­sides Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Guangzhou and Shen­zhen, eight smaller me­trop­o­lises stepped into China’s 1-tril­lion-yuan ($148 bil­lion) GDP club in 2016. They in­clude Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

The rapid eco­nomic devel­op­ment of sec­ond-tier cities is the main fac­tor that at­tracts fresh grad­u­ates, said Su Hainan, vice-pres­i­dent of the China As­so­ci­a­tion for La­bor Stud­ies.

Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, a host city of the 2016 G20 Sum­mit, set a record with dou­ble-digit GDP growth for seven con­sec­u­tive quar­ters in 2015 and 2016.

Chengdu is home to the of­fices of 278 For­tune Global 500 com­pa­nies, and is also a key city in China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. More than 7,000 new com­pa­nies have reg­is­tered in Chengdu dur­ing the past three months.

Fa­vor­able poli­cies

Be­sides eco­nomic growth, fa­vor­able em­ploy­ment poli­cies in th­ese cities ap­peal to new col­lege grad­u­ates.

Chang­sha, Hu­nan prov­ince, pro­vides hous­ing and liv­ing sub­si­dies of 6,000 to 15,000 yuan per year for many grad­u­ates. Those with doc­toral de­grees can get 60,000 yuan in sub­si­dies when they pur­chase their first res­i­dence in the city.

Liu Xuezhi, an an­a­lyst at the Bank of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said adopt­ing fa­vor­able em­ploy­ment poli­cies meets the need for in­no­va­tive devel­op­ment in sec­ond-tier cities.

High-qual­ity hu­man re­sources are be­com­ing a strong driver of the in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tion and upgrading of mid-level cities, said Liu Yuanchun, an econ­o­mist and vice-pres­i­dent of Ren­min Univer­sity of China.

This year we have a long line of peo­ple with master’s and doc­toral de­grees from Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Guangzhou.” Huang Zuge, hu­man re­sources of­fi­cial at an in­ter­net com­pany in Chongqing

LIU CHAOFU / FOR CHINA DAILY

Grad­u­ates par­tic­i­pate in a job fair at a vo­ca­tional col­lege in the Qianx­i­nan Bouyei and Miao au­tonomous pre­fec­ture in Guizhou prov­ince in June.

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