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Morale: Unrest Among The Underemployed Overeducated


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Strategy Page

July 24 2021

In a pattern similar to what other industrialized nations have already experienced, China not only has a labor shortage because of a low middle class birth rate, they are now experiencing the side effects of too many university graduates. Currently about 54 percent of young (18-22) Chinese will obtain university degrees and a growing percentage of them cannot find jobs that justify the effort and expense that went into obtaining a diploma. In 2021 over nine million recent university graduates went looking for a job. That was four percent more than 2020 and most will not find a job that requires a university degree. Even grads with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees are not guaranteed a job and, even if they get an offer, it is not as attractive (well-paid and in their field) as a decade ago. Many have to settle for low-level (high school) teaching jobs. The military is always seeking STEM grads but this is considered second-best because pay and benefits are not great and working conditions are often very unattractive, especially in the navy where ships spend more and more time at sea. Another problem with the military is that you have to qualify to be an officer and that excludes many STEM grads who cannot meet the physical or gender (males preferred) requirements.

Over a decade ago it was noted that while China was getting rich, there was much corruption in the government, the military and even the universities. This created a growing number of unhappy Chinese, and they have a lot of unemployed, often because of corruption. Job seekers are cheated and exploited by corrupt employers and officials on a regular basis. These problems are especially painful for the half of new job seekers who have a university degree.

Difficulty for university grads getting a suitable job is nothing new. In the past, whenever there was an economic downturn, like in 2008, 30 percent of university students could not find a suitable job right away and taking anything caused problems later on because to future employers that meant you were not a prime candidate right out of university.

Despite the tight censorship on Chinese Internet social media there is an increasing amount of chatter by recent university graduates about the need for change................(Snip)

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