New graduates feel mixed emotions about the future

By Yan Dongjie | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-11 08:49
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Graduates hand in their resumes and question recruiting agents about work at the job fair. WANG YISHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

'Sense of security'

In interviews for this article, the phrase "Searching for a sense of security" appeared frequently among this class of graduates.

Wu said that he needs to make money to gain that feeling. Meanwhile, some of his peers chose to take the civil service exam, while others preferred jobs that provide household registration in Beijing. Some simply chose to work for State-owned enterprises or large companies because that made them feel more secure.

Wang Hongying, Party secretary of the School of Languages and Communication Studies at Beijing Jiaotong University, said there are big differences between today's graduates and those of 10 years ago.

According to Wang, today's young people are focused more on their feelings than on rational thought when they make choices. For example, they pay more attention to the working environment and company culture, and they have more patience to wait to "grow up".

"In the past, we heard that many college graduates overseas were taking gap years, and this phenomenon is becoming more and more popular in China. Some use the break to retake the graduate school entrance exams or go abroad for further study, while others just want to stop and 'wait for themselves' (to understand their own needs)," she said.

"The country's economic development has given this generation a sense of security," she said. The 20 years during which this generation grew up was also the time in which China developed from being relatively well-off to well-off. "So they grew up with a certain sense of security. This is the confidence that the country's development has brought to this generation," she said.

In China, the school entry age is 6 years old, so children born in the second half of 2000 and the first half of 2001 started school in 2007, went to college in 2019 and graduated this year.

"This generation is regarded as a lucky one because its members grew up in a favorable environment. However, at the same time, it is also an anxious generation, and these young people may face greater employment pressures," Wang said.

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