Saturday, December 18, 2010

Urban life, opportunities disappoint provincial Chinese graduates

Read Andrew Jacobs' recent story in the New York Times, "China's Army of Graduates Struggles for Jobs." While it is not apparent from the headline, the tale is largely one of rural-to-urban migration--at least if you define "rural" broadly. Jacobs reports that many college graduates--as many as 100,000 in Beijing--are unemployed, having moved from the provinces to larger cities.
Their undergraduate degrees, many from the growing crop of third-tier provincial schools, earn them little respect in the big city. And as the children of peasants or factory workers, they lack the essential social lubricant known as guanxi, or personal connections, that greases the way for the offspring of China’s nouveau riche and the politically connected.
One unemployed female graduate is quoted:
Compared with Beijing, my hometown in Shanxi feels like it’s stuck in the 1950s ... If I stayed there, my life would be empty and depressing.
That woman's father is a vegetable peddler. The father of another female graduate featured in the story is a coal miner. With such poor prospects for white-collar employment in Beijing, however, many of the graduates are giving up and moving home.

No comments: