Home Opinion ACT Column The proportion of Peking University graduates studying abroad dropped from 30.01% in...

The proportion of Peking University graduates studying abroad dropped from 30.01% in 2019 to 18.90%

Recently, many prestigious colleges and universities have released reports on the employment of 2021 graduates.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, the number of college graduates in 2022 will reach 10.76 million, which is a 1.67 million increase from the previous year. On February 6 of 2022, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a document stating that promoting the employment of college graduates should be the top priority of this year’s employment work.

A reporter from China Youth Daily recently reviewed the employment quality reports of graduates from many well-known colleges and universities in 2021. The reports found that following the epidemic, the number of graduates from these colleges and universities going abroad for further study has been impacted, and the number of domestically advanced students have steadily increased. In terms of geographical selection, non-first-tier cities and grass-roots employment have become new choices for graduates. Additionally, new forms of employment such as flexible employment have emerged among graduates, subsequently leading to fewer graduates going abroad to further their studies. 

Since 2020, factors such as the novel coronavirus pandemic have led to a decline in students studying abroad.

According to the employment quality reports of Peking University and Tsinghua University, in 2019, the number of Peking University graduates who went abroad to study was 1,155 people, or 14.79%. This number dropped to 793 people, or 13.34% in 2021. The proportion of Tsinghua University graduates going abroad dropped from 15.3% to 9.6% between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, the number will further drop to 517 people, which is 6.9% compared to two years ago.

Today, the proportion of many well-known colleges and universities going abroad for further study has dropped to approximately 10%. For example, the overall postgraduate study rate of 2021 undergraduates of Beijing Institute of Technology is 64.31%, and the overseas postgraduate study rate is 10.77%. Southeast University’s 2021 undergraduate students account for 48.26% domestically, while the overseas study rate only amounts to 10.53%. For Shanghai Jiaotong University, the rate of 2021 post-graduate students is 25.32% domestically, and 8.91% abroad. In 2021, 523 graduates of Nankai University chose to study abroad, accounting for only 7.16% of the total number of graduates. At Northeastern University, among the graduates, only 4.8% went abroad to further their studies.

A report released by the International Labor Organization in 2016 titled, “Non-standard Employment in the World: Understanding the Challenges, Shaping the Future” pointed out that in the past few decades, developed and developing countries have experienced the transition from standard to non-standard employment. Non-standard employment is becoming more common in countries around the world.

“Generally speaking, non-standard employment refers to work outside the scope of the ‘standard employment relationship’ and is divided into four types: temporary employment, part-time employment, temporary agency works and other multi-party employment, and concealed employment & self-employment. The growth of non-standard employment is the result of a combination of factors, reflecting the changes brought about by economic globalization in the world of work,” said Yue Changjun, a professor at the Institute of Educational Economics at Peking University.

In the reports of many colleges and universities this year, “flexible employment” has become a very relevant topic.

It is reported that among the undergraduate graduates of Nanjing University in 2021, flexible employment accounts for 7.01% of the graduates. Flexible employment accounts for 7.57% of the 2021 undergraduate graduates from Shanghai Jiaotong University. The percentage of flexible employment among non-public and non-normal undergraduate graduates of ECNU is 11.9%. 3.07% of masters graduates and 4.14% of doctoral students also work under flexible employment.

According to a national survey conducted by Peking University’s “National College Graduate Employment Status Survey”, standard employment accounts for less than 50% of graduate employment. On the contrary, the proportion of non-standard employment such as self-employment, freelance, and other flexible employment has shown an overall upward trend and has become a form of employment that college graduates must face.

Judging from the employment trend of college graduates in recent years, one employment direction being recognized is national key industry employment. This can be seen from the employment quality reports of many colleges and universities, where the number of people employed in key national industries as well as grassroots employment is annually increasing. 

For example, there are a total of 8,993 graduates of Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2021, and the number of graduates employed in key national industries and key units accounted for 56.29% of the total number of employed people. Out of those employed, 21.76% were employed in key central enterprises and important scientific research institutions directly under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. A total of 342 graduates from the headquarters of Jiaotong University were employed in national defense science and technology units and troops, which was an increase of 32 since 2020. In the past five years, a total of 1,139 graduates from the school headquarters went to work in defense science and technology units and troops, showing an increasing trend year after year. In 2021, a total of 66.47% of the graduates were employed in key national fields.

Going to the west has also become the employment destination for more and more college students.

According to statistics, over 50% of the graduates of Tsinghua University in 2021 chose to work in units outside Beijing, and more than 200 people went to work in public sectors in the western and northeastern regions. Among the 2021 graduates of Xi’an Jiaotong University, many students took the initiative to go to the western region. 49.61% of the employees in the western region are employed in places where the motherland needs them the most. Additionally, 271 people from China University of Political Science and Law chose to work in the western region.

Selecting and transferring students has also become one of the main ways for many students to make achievements at the grassroots level. Nankai University has 311 people engaged in national and local grass-roots employment projects and Shanghai Jiaotong University has a total of 836 graduates who have been recruited to grass-roots units in the past five years. The numbers and quality of employment have been steadily improving year by year. 

In terms of industry selection, the finance industry, education industry, information technology service industry, public management and social organizations, and technology industry have all become popular employment fields for graduates.

For example, the top industries in which Tsinghua University graduates signed tripartite employment agreements in 2021 are information transmission, software and information technology services, education, public management, social security, and social organizations. Similarly, 2021 graduates of Peking University are mainly employed in the same industries listed above.

In addition, many colleges and universities with their own disciplinary characteristics have obvious tendencies in specific areas of the employment industry which reflect their talent training directions.

For example, graduates from China University of Political Science and Law have a high proportion of employment in state party and government agencies, with 873 people working in said agencies, accounting for 42.05% of the total number of implementation units; Beijing Jiaotong University, employed a total of 792 graduates in the rail transit industry, accounting for 17.57% of the total unit. East China Normal University graduates engaged in the education-academic industry and accounted for the largest proportion of 42.94%.

Finding a job is not easy. Judging from the employment quality reports released by many schools, finding a satisfactory job requires a lot of effort from graduates of prestigious school. It often takes several months to find a job.

For example, the report of Xi’an Jiaotong University shows that the 2021 graduates had sufficient time to prepare for job hunting, and 68.94% of graduates spend at least one year to prepare for job hunting. Among the average time spent by 2021 graduates of Nanjing University for job hunting, 23.17% of the graduates spent 2-3 months, and 26.47% of the graduates spent 3-6 months.

According to data from many colleges and universities, most graduates need to submit 20 to 30 resumes to receive an offer. After several screenings, most students will receive 2 to 3 offers.

Over 50% of Nanjing University graduates report that the number of resumes submitted is 10 or less, and the number of resumes submitted by master’s graduates is higher than that of undergraduate and doctoral graduates. A survey by Shanghai Jiao Tong University showed that undergraduates submit an average of13.47 resumes, receive 5.47 interview opportunities, and get 2.31 employment notices. Graduate students submit an average of 22.23 resumes, receive 9.60 interview opportunities, and get 3.25 employment notices, within the span of approximately 3.09 months.

In addition, Nankai University graduates submitted an average of 31.62 resumes, received an average of 10.28 interview invitations, and received an average of 3.01 employment notices during the job search process. East China Normal University graduates sent an average of 23.34 resumes and each graduate received an average of 2.92 employment notices. In terms of academic qualifications, masters received the largest number of employment notices (3.29), followed by doctors (2.39), and finally undergraduate (2.25).

The employment of college graduates has always been an important issue related to people’s livelihood and social development. In recent years, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and other relevant departments have adopted various policies and measures to help college students find employment. The reports issued by various colleges and universities also play an important part of achieving employment.

Yue Changjun believes that in this, it is necessary to provide employment information to promote the employment of college graduates and to improve the quality and efficiency of employment. “In recent years, colleges and universities have released annual reports on the employment quality of college graduates, but there is no national employment quality report. It is recommended to publish a national report based on the overall data of college graduates.”

In addition, Yue Changjun said that to achieve more adequate and higher-quality employment, it is necessary to improve the quality of talent training for college graduates, and to improve the matching degree of students’ interests, majors, and occupations.

“In ‘high-quality employment’, the basic condition is to be able to coordinate personal interests, majors, and occupations. If you choose a major according to your interests, you can learn with enthusiasm. If you choose a career according to your major, you can increase human capital. Therefore, matching the degree of interests, majors, and occupations is an important indicator to measure the quality of employment.” Yue Changjun said.

Songzi Li/Managing Editor

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