A record number of university graduates will join China’s job market this year, putting heavier pressure on an already tight market.

More than 10.7 million students are expected to graduate from Chinese universities in 2022.

According to a survey, four-fifths want civil-servant jobs, but the sector has been taking unprecedented pay cuts.

Zhaopin, an online recruitment and consultancy platform, conducted the survey. It shows that more than 80% of university graduates want to work in government agencies or state-owned enterprises.

Only 17.4% of graduates in 2022 would like to have their first job in the private sector.

However, state-owned enterprises have announced an unprecedented reduction or even suspension of recruitment. And even those who have been admitted to civil service in many places face a situation of reduced salaries.

In addition, socio-economic instability has left job seekers with fewer choices.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the unemployment rate for young people aged between 16 and 24 was 18.4% in May. This figure, however, still does not reflect the dire employment situation in the Chinese labor market.

Videos circulated on mainland social media show that many graduates seek jobs but cannot get enough employment opportunities.

A university graduate in Hangzhou said he had submitted resumes to more than 250 companies in the past few weeks and was disheartened. 

Economists at Bank of America Securities have estimated that the unemployment rate among young Chinese could reach 23% in July or August with graduation season.

A Caixin report indicates that only 13.5% of graduates of a university in Guangdong have found jobs after the end of the first quarter of this year.

China’s media also reported that Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai have set up civil servant salary reduction offices.

In Shanghai, the annual salary for civil servants at the department level has been reduced from fifty thousand dollars to less than thirty thousand dollars; the wages at the division level have been reduced from thirty-six thousand to less than twenty-three thousand.

The income of civil servants in Zhejiang province fell by about 25%.

There are also salary reductions for civil servants in Guangdong, Fujian, Beijing, and Tianjin.

Bloomberg columnist Shuli Ren said that in the past decade, many young Chinese people have entered universities, resulting in qualifications that do not match the Chinese market’s needs. It has also affected young people’s employment.

The Zhaopin survey shows that, as of mid-April, 46.7% of the total number of Chinese graduates nationwide received offers, lower than the 62.8% in the same period last year.

Among contracted graduates, the average monthly salary fell 12% year-on-year, and the annual average wage was less than 12,000 dollars.

The survey found that competition in the job market is still intensifying.

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