Shu Xiang, 21, started looking for a job in February but has yet to find one. Xu, who majors in financial management at a university in Chengdu, China, said she received five responses out of about 100 applications. Graduation is in a few weeks.
“I’m not very confident in finding a job,” she said. The only thing that eases her anxiety, she said, is that she knows she’s not alone. Most of her classmates were facing similar problems.
Mr. Xu is one of nearly 12 million Chinese who are expected to find a job next month during a difficult time. The government reported this week that 20.4% of job-seeking 16- to 24-year-olds were unemployed in April. This is the highest level since China began releasing data in 2018.
High youth unemployment has been a dark stain on China’s economy in recent years, exacerbated by the pandemic’s draconian health restrictions, travel restrictions, devastating small businesses and declining consumer confidence. Faced with rare public discontent as young professionals protested the “zero-corona” rule in major cities across China, the government abruptly announced in December it would begin easing policies. But youth unemployment remains high, even as the overall unemployment rate has fallen for the second month in a row.
The Chinese government has introduced set of policies The aim is to promote youth employment, including subsidies to small businesses that employ university graduates. State-owned enterprises have so far instructed So that we can offer more jobs to people who are just starting out.
Overall, China’s economy is stabilizing more slowly and unevenly than many expected. Other reports released by the Chinese government this week showed an increase in retail sales and factory activity in April, but those figures were lower than April 2022, when millions were effectively shut down. It has caused anxiety among economists and investors who were hoping for better results. Indoors during lockdown in Shanghai.
China’s tech giants have weathered a difficult year and are beginning to show signs of recovery, but financial performance for most companies has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Part of the problem, analysts say, is the mismatch between the jobs college graduates want and the jobs available.
According to Zhilian, a Chinese job search site, the number of job postings in the tourism and passenger and freight transport sectors grew the fastest in March. Another sector with a lot of vacancies is retail.
Industries such as construction, transportation and warehousing, which are usually of high interest to China’s vast numbers of migrant workers, are also picking up. Fu Linhuia spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics said at a press conference this week.
Young people with higher education degrees are seeking jobs in the fields of technology, education and medicine, said Nie Laiming, a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Financial Law, a research institute.
“But these are exactly the industries that have seen slow growth in China over the past few years,” said Nie. “Many industries not only did not grow, they were devastated.”
In recent years, China has cracked down on its once-thriving education and technology industries. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, leaving businesses and investors reeling. Fears of further government intervention in the private sector have heightened in the wake of increased oversight, prompting companies to cut jobs.
The number of college graduates is increasing while the industry that attracts educated youth is shrinking. According to China’s education ministry, 11.6 million college students are expected to graduate in June, an increase of 820,000 from last year.
Another reason the COVID-19 pandemic is still troubling young job seekers is that many students are spending part of their college life in lockdown, living on campuses with severe restrictions on movement. is. They had few opportunities for internships or the social experience recruiters were looking for.
China’s economy is expected to strengthen in the coming months, but the recovery will remain weak until consumers are confident enough to buy big-ticket items again, which will encourage more companies to expand their hiring. would encourage.
Dong Yang, who works for a Beijing organization that regularly holds job fairs, said the number of companies inquiring at the booth was still lower than before the pandemic.
“They say the economy is recovering,” Dong said. “However, with many people currently out of work or laid off from their companies, we feel this trend is only going downhill.”