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Talented returnees benefit from new lives in country

By Yu Ran in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-20 07:13

Offer accepted

Ni Lanlan, 25, from Hunan province, accepted a first job offer from an internet company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2020, the year he obtained a master's in human technology interaction from Eindhoven University of Technology.

"I studied abroad not just to broaden my perspective, but to learn advanced knowledge and professional skills in the internet industry to develop my career wherever I go," said Ni, who gained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in China.

Overseas studies were different from what he expected, and Ni struggled with theoretical courses. He also found it difficult to find a job after applying for more than 100 positions in three to four months in 2020.However, after a three-month internship as a user experience designer, Ni became a full-time employee at the Amsterdam company.

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, Ni started to feel he was being viewed as an outsider from overseas.

"I realized that no matter where you are, you live your life every day, but it's more about being consistent wherever you are — overseas or back in China," he said.

Ni also experienced loneliness and felt helpless while working from home.

During Spring Festival in 2021, he returned to China for a short family reunion. He spent three months traveling and visiting friends across the country and eventually regained the sense of belonging he had missed for years.

"I enjoyed experiencing life and making decisions at different times and in different states of mind. However, it was time to return to China to experience the things I missed in my early 20s, when I gained experience in exploring the world," said Ni, who quit his job in the Netherlands without a formal farewell.

According to a 2021 employment survey of Chinese returnees released by recruitment platform Zhaopin this year, the number of overseas returnees submitting resumes in China in 2021 rose by nearly 34 percent compared with 2019.Although more overseas students returning home found it difficult to land a job for the first time, over 26 percent of them found work within a month, a year-on-year rise of 6 percent.

Ni spent more than two months submitting dozens of resumes online. He was contacted for further interviews by about 20 companies, until finally receiving an offer from a United States enterprise based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, after five rounds of interviews in June.

In August, he went to work for another foreign company on a higher salary and with a friendlier working atmosphere.

"I've learned from living abroad and in China that I should not set limits for myself, but return to my original intention of experiencing something different, going with the flow, and feeling free to enjoy the moment," Ni said.

The Zhaopin report also said that returnees are now younger than their predecessors and hold higher educational qualifications. In 2021, returnees in the 16 to 34 age group accounted for more than 90 percent of job seekers in China, with less than 10 percent of them older than 35.

More than 75 percent of returnees had a master's or higher qualification — 1 percent more than the previous year. The internet industry was the favored choice for nearly 27 percent of those returning home.

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