Fast-growing Economy Woos Overseas Students to Stay for Jobs

July 9, 2018
By Qu Mei, Li YichaoEditor: Wang Yue

Seventy-two percent of the total 1,157 international students now studying in China cited the fast-developing Chinese economy as the top reason for deciding to stay for work. The recent report jointly released by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and China Global Talents Society (CGTS) sheds light on how international students in China view talent policies as well as their willingness to seek a job here.

The first part of the survey collected data on the characteristics of students interested in finding work, particularly those interested in working in China. Data showed this group was predominantly Asian (54.3 percent), with more men (58.6 percent) than women. Around half the participants had lived in China for more than two years. It was found that most students came from first-class universities in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. A diverse range of majors were represented and over 68 percent of respondents were studying at the undergraduate or master's level.

The second part of the survey explored participants' expectations and preferences toward China and employment. Over 60 percent of participants were willing to work in China, with just over 57 percent preferring to work in a multinational/foreign enterprise. Most foreign students favored working in a large city.

The most important reason students are willing to work in China is the rapidly growing economy, followed by career development opportunities, safe living conditions, salary and affordable living expenses. Meanwhile, environmental pollution, language problems, and distance from family and friends were the most commonly cited reasons against working in China.

Survey data indicated that the preferred channels for job seeking were online information on jobs and internships, job/internship fairs organized at schools and establishing contact with employers through social media.

Despite the new policy, which eases work experience requirements for overseas students seeking employment in China, the survey indicated a lack of awareness among the target group, with over 50 percent of participants saying they were unfamiliar with this policy. Attracting qualified foreigners to China is one of the main goals of China's talent policy. To this end, it is preferable if qualified foreigners that come to China and learn about the country are able to find opportunities to stay and work in China after graduation. The research indicates that many overseas students in China are indeed willing to stay on and work in the country, though some are put off by difficulties such as language barriers and many are unaware of the new and favorable employment policies. It would benefit China's development if more work is done to identify problems faced by foreign students in relation to the talent policy, to adopt policy solutions to address these problems, and to ensure that the target group is aware of and understands relevant policy adjustments.

Qu Mei, Li Yichao are two members with the CCG International Students Research Project.

(Source: China Daily)

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