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Chinese Students Return Home to a Disappointing Job Market

In recent times, more Chinese are leaving their countries to study abroad. These students are nicknamed “haigui”, which also means sea turtle. While it is a great feat to study abroad, these “haigui” have experienced a lot of disappointment when they return home only to find out that the jobs, which satisfy their aspirations, are not readily available. Or many of the students who return home find that the salary expectations do not match the reality of what they will actually be paid.

According to the Chinese ministry of education, of the 608,400 people who traveled abroad, 480,000 returned to China. Students said they return home because they want to take part in the rapidly growing economy back home.

However, according to another survey by a Beijing-based think tank, of the 2,000 plus Chinese students who were surveyed, 80% said the salaries they were offered upon returning was lower than what they had in mind. Another 70% said they are currently doing jobs that do not match their skills and experience. Students shared that from their experience, big Chinese companies who pay substantial salaries only want to hire individuals who have worked for big names like Google.

In addition to the lack of internships and reverse culture shock hindering returning students from securing employment, another reason is that many students graduate and return to China during the wrong time of the year. They seem to return after the domestic Chinese students have already graduated and secured many of the high paying positions.

Despite the complaints made by returnee graduates, Wang Huiyao, the Director of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), said that the skills and experience being brought back to China by these students has greatly contributed toward the betterment of the Chinese society. However, the CCG has warned that employers address the widespread of discontent among their staff, as many are continuously switching jobs because they are not satisfied with the salaries being given. The percentage of these “haigui” is currently around 9%, but CCG fears this number will rise steadily if proper care is not taken by employers.

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