Transcript · 文字实录
Feng Xin: Many college graduates often mock their graduation as a "ceremony of unemployment". But the latest job market report from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security shows the jobs available actually outnumber job seekers. What makes it difficult for employers to recruit enough workers? And what makes it difficult for job seekers to find such employers? This graduation season, Digest China will present a two-part series taking a close look at these questions. The first episode will focus on those who supply jobs, and the second part will look at those who demand jobs. First, let's go to a couple of job fairs to find out what employers have to say.
Respondent: From an employer's point of view, is it difficult to recruit workers?
Respondent: It is difficult to recruit the right people.
Respondent: We find this year particularly hard. High-end, research and development and engineering staff members are difficult to recruit.
Reporter: Can you tell me specifically what makes it difficult to recruit workers?
Respondent: Graduates are confused when they step into society. Some have no idea what kind of jobs they are looking for.
Respondent: The biggest difficulty is explaining (the job) to everyone. I think most graduates don't spend time learning about the company. They know little about the company's entrepreneurial culture but blindly send their resumes.
Respondent：For example, some may work here for only two to three months before quitting the job.
Respondent: In the past, we recruited new employees once a year, but now we do it regularly. We almost have to recruit every two or three months. Employees flow quite frequently.
Respondent: Job seekers all think from their own stance. They only care about the salary offered even before attending a job interview.
Respondent: They sometimes think too highly of themselves.
Respondent: The difficulty lies in the fact that they don't even know what job they want.
Reporter：What issues do job seekers care about most when looking for a job?
Respondent: Salary. Mainly salary. And also their future development.
Reporter：What qualities do you value and expect from job candidates but most of whom lack?
Respondent: First of all, attitude. There are many employers in this job market – even more than job seekers. They think it doesn't matter, because they can always choose the next (employer).
Respondent: Self-planning. Many people can't see themselves through.
Respondent: I value most the ability to learn.
Respondent: A sense of company identity.
Reporter：Which word would you choose to describe the process of recruitment?
Respondent: Wade across the stream by feeling the way. (Chinese idiom)
Respondent: Exercise. I think it's an exercise for myself.
What makes it difficult for employers to recruit enough workers, and more importantly, ideal workers? Before answering this question, let's take a look at the big picture.
In 2011, China provided nearly 20.7 million jobs for 19.6 million job seekers. This means for every 100 candidates there were 106 jobs available. The ratio went up to 100:108 in the first quarter of 2012. These numbers come from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security's job-market monitoring of about 100 Chinese cities.
As of 2011, China's tertiary industry demanded the most employees, taking up to 59 percent of all job seekers, whereas the second industry took up around 40 percent and the primary industry, 1.8 percent. However, the tertiary industry, with fields like services and retail, needed 13 percent fewer employees between 2001 and 2011, whereas the second industry, which includes manufacturing and construction among others, needed 13 percent more. Eighty-eight percent of employers have specific education requirements for job candidates. Many require a high school education. Of that 38.5 percent, more than 60 percent require professional diplomas. Of employers who do have education requirements, only 8.5 percent require university diplomas or bachelor's degrees.
How has China's job market changed over the years? We called Chen Yu from our studio. He is the vice-chairman of the China Association for Employment Promotion.
Feng Xin: Mr Chen, how has China's job market changed in recent years?
Chen Yu: In the past, two groups had difficulties (finding jobs). One consisted of people with limited education and capability, who were mainly migrant workers and laid-off workers. Another group was college graduates. (But) a new phenomenon emerged in recent years. It's getting less difficult for migrant workers to find jobs but even more difficult for college graduates.
Feng Xin: Since when did this occur?
Chen Yu: About five years ago. I think there were two reasons. In terms of migrant workers, their age and requests have changed significantly. Many migrant workers who were born in the 1990s are no longer satisfied with making a simple living. It's no longer possible to attract them with a cheap-labor policy. In terms of college graduates, the expansion of college admission has brought significant changes. The first batch of students (of the expansion) graduated in 2003. From 2003 to 2012, the number of college graduates increased from 1 million to 7 million. Although there are more college graduates in the labor market, China has limited needs toward qualified and high-skilled workers, because its economy is still at the bottom end of the global industrial chain.
Although it seems China has more jobs available than job seekers, those jobs that require a college degree are quite limited. At what rate are China's college graduates finding employment?
In March, My China Occupational Skills, or MyCOS, an independent research institute, conducted a survey of more than 250,000 college graduates from more than 2,000 Chinese universities and colleges. According to MyCOS, China had 6 million college graduates in 2011, and 90.2 percent of them found jobs six months after they graduated. The institute also found that on average college graduates of 2008 worked for 2.3 employers in three years.
What do these numbers mean? We directed our questions to Guo Jiao, MyCOS' chief research officer.
Feng Xin: Some say nowadays college students are not even as competitive as migrant workers. What do you think of this opinion?
Guo Jiao: First, I don't think migrant workers or vocational school graduates are competing with college graduates, because the latter are still engaged in more intellectually oriented jobs. There are certain jobs that migrant workers are not able to do, like those related to research, technology and application. Nowadays there are a lot of such comparisons, which compares a fresh college graduate with possibly a very experienced migrant worker as well as their current income levels. But if you compare a fresh college graduate with a novice migrant worker, and look at their income levels and promotion in three or five years, I believe it would be a different scenario.
Feng Xin: So, it's more important to look at the question with a long-term perspective.
Guo Jiao: Yes, and we also need to see if they have any relevant experience.
Feng Xin: In our street interviews, many employers said a lot of college graduates quit their jobs within three months. Their mobility is very high. What do you think of this?
Guo Jiao: Such resignation is brought up by college graduates themselves. We asked about the reasons. It's mainly because the salary and welfare are lower than their expectations. Therefore, on the one hand, I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing, because it shows the labor market provides college graduates with some free options. But on the other hand, it's a loss for both employers and college graduates in terms of the time and effort they invested. Therefore, I think employers and graduates should work problems out together from the very beginning of recruitment, to training and to the employee's future development.
It would be ideal if employers and college graduates could work problems out together, but from our interviews with employers, it seems they have quite a few complaints about college graduates. So again, we spoke to Chen Yu.
Feng Xin: Mr Chen, we often hear employers say it's not difficult to recruit people but very difficult to recruit the right people. Why is that?
Chen Yu: That's the core of the problem. Every company needs capable people with experience, professional skills, creativity and motivation. But you will see those really dedicated employees only take up a small proportion of all workers. A US survey found the percentage lies between 20 percent and 30 percent. More than 50 percent of employees drift through each day and only do whatever they are asked to do. Another 20 percent don't fit into the workplace and feel pained to go to work. This is in the US, but I think it applies to workplaces worldwide.
Feng Xin: Some employers told us they believe there is a wide problem existing among college graduates. They think many graduates never try to create value for their companies but think too highly of themselves by asking for higher salaries, positions and welfare. What do you think of such complaints?
Chen Yu: Companies and employers exercise hard constraints. They are neither charity organizations nor schools offering compulsory education. Their primary goal is to make a profit. That's why I call it "hard constraints", meaning employees are the ones to follow rules, not the other way round.
While employers might have complaints about college graduates, are the latter the only party to be blamed? We also called Xiong Bingqi, the vice-president at the 21 Century Education Research Institute.
Xiong Bingqi: It's natural for employers to maximize profits, but they also need to think about graduates' request on salaries. Without a win-win attitude, between employers and employees, it would be difficult to establish long-term cooperation. We can find there are a lot of unfair conditions for employees during recruitment. Many employers still treat college students as cheap laborers. This is in fact not helpful for the company's long-term development. Nor will it make the company grow bigger.
Feng Xin: Dr Xiong, some employers told us another problem they are facing, which also contributes to the difficulty in recruiting employees. That is, it's quite common for college graduates to quit their jobs after a short period. We learned that more than 40 percent of college graduates have changed jobs within three years of their graduation. What do you think of this?
Xiong Bignqi: I think there are two key problems. One lies with employers: Are they capable of keeping college graduates? This is essential. You can't blame the graduates for everything. You may notice many companies have already created a vicious cycle. They want to put fresh college graduates in immediate use and create profit. They hesitate to train these graduates, because they are more willing to steal employees who have a couple of years of experiences from other companies. That's how frequent job-hopping happens. Many employers are very shortsighted and seek quick success. They've made the problem worse. Every employer should take the responsibility of helping graduates become socialized and professional. If employers are all unwilling to do so, they would just help foster an environment for frequent job-hopping.
Feng Xin: All right, thank you.
Feng Xin: In this episode, we focused on those who supply jobs. The experts we interviewed said the changes in China's economic structure and work force, the expansion of China's higher education and the dissymmetry in the expectations between employers and college graduates all make it difficult for employers to recruit enough workers. But what about the job seekers? What makes it difficult for college graduates to find jobs? Please be sure to join us in our next episode.
Many college graduates often mock their graduation as a “ceremony of unemployment”. But the latest job market report from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security shows the jobs available actually outnumber job seekers. What makes it difficult for employers to recruit enough workers? And what makes it difficult for job seekers to find such employers? This graduation season, Digest China will present a two-part series taking a close look at these questions. The first episode will focus on those who supply jobs, and the second part will look at those who demand jobs.