Chinese study abroad students face low salaries and a tough job market

Its being reported that the EIC Group, a Chinese international education service provider, has released a survey suggesting that nearly half of all Chinese returnees from studying abroad earn no higher than 5,000 yuan (US$790.5) a month and are struggling to obtain higher positions.

Among the 7,800 Chinese study abroad returnees who participated in the survey, 71% earn monthly salaries of 3,000 to 10,000 yuan (US$474.3 to US$1,581) while only 15% earned more than 10,000 yuan a month. In addition, 58% reported being staff workers with less than 7% able to obtain higher positions in management or able to own their own business, plus 46% of returnee jobseekers found jobs in private companies and 32% were hired by foreign companies and/or joint ventures.

Finally, most Chinese overseas students surveyed had majored in economics or business management, but many ended up starting their careers in different areas, with the breakdown being: finance (21%), education and entertainment (18%), consultancy and law (15%), telecom and IT services (9%) and manufacturing (5%).

So why are many struggling? Three factors have contributed to a decline in the competitive advantage of Chinese study abroad students who return home:

  1. China’s job market is becoming increasingly saturated.
  2. The sharp increase in the number of Chinese students studying abroad has led to concerns over the quality of their education along with the abilities of these graduates.
  3. A higher education diploma is no longer the only requirement to find a job in China as employers increasing put an emphasis on the professional skills and working experiences of potential candidates.

Given the above situation, Chinese study abroad students should try to work abroad for at least two to three years before returning to China. Of course and given the job market and the visa situation in many western countries, that’s easier said than done.

Nevertheless and for those students in China who are thinking of studying abroad, it would be wise for them to carefully consider their field of study and what institution to study at before leaving China.

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