In China, what (unique) challenges do the locals face in getting a good job?
September 16, 2007 1:34 PM   Subscribe

In China, what (unique) challenges do the locals face in getting a good job?

From what I know: schooling is tough, getting into university is tough, due to the high number of graduates the competition is tough... from observation alot of people do low-level, uninteresting jobs, which would be considered demeaning in wealthier countries, so it must be extremely difficult to get a good job in China especially with no degree.

I want to research into this. What are the things I should know? Facts, anecdotes? Where should I go for more info? Search terms to use in Google?

Your help is appreciated.
posted by gttommy to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I only know based on the stories my cousins tell me but a college degree is now a de facto requirement if you want a white collar job anywhere because there are a ton of unemployed college graduates.
posted by wangarific at 1:59 PM on September 16, 2007

Which part of China? It's a massive country with a massive population. Schooling is not tough everywhere. In some areas, schools struggle to obtain and keep qualified teachers and education opportunities are limited. The country is also in the early stages of becoming capitalist, and the communist semi-guarantees of work have vanished, so there's this whole cultural upheaval going on. Certain types of industry are only allowed in certain regions of the country. Speculation is rampant, and entire industries occasionally collapse as a result. Laws limit ownership of business and stifle innovation sometimes, while encouraging certain types of innovation other times. State-subsidized work is vanishing from rural areas, and the population is undergoing a massive shift to urban areas in search of employment. Some Chinese ethnic groups face discrimination.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:10 PM on September 16, 2007

Best answer: From a 2005 Reuters article:

"Chinese tradition holds 2006 will be a year of bad luck for people born under the sign of the dog, but misfortune has come early for some looking for jobs, state media said on Wednesday.

Chinese companies looking for new recruits had deliberately passed over candidates born as dogs in China's ancient 12-animal astrological cycle to ward off the bad luck expected for people in years of their same sign, the China Youth Daily said.
A rule that women applying for government jobs in central Hunan province had to show they had symmetrically shaped breasts sparked a public uproar last year".
posted by martinrebas at 3:21 PM on September 16, 2007

Best answer: i seem to recall hearing a story on npr that securing a good job often requires some bribery. this might just be government jobs, not private sector, but i wouldn't be surprised either way.

i am speaking, of course, without a shred of evidence besides my recollection.

the atlantic monthly has run a good series of articles by james fallows about china this year--it might be a good place to start.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:29 PM on September 16, 2007

Best answer: Just a few things off the top of my head:
By some estimates there are as many as 200 million un- or under-employed people of working age in rural China alone.
Rural people travelling to work in the cities are often away from their traditional support networks increasing their vulnerability to sharks and shysters. You may be aware of extreme cases such as the recent scandal of boys being kidnapped to be worked as slave labour in brick kilns; I am aware of numerous equally shocking cases of indentured servitude in some of the most dangerous and unhealthy conditions imaginable (metal foundries in a Death-valley-like desert). Young women are routinely tricked into the sex industry answering fake adverts in the papers for legitimate sounding jobs.
Many migrant workers will come as part of a gang from their hometown. Your ganger/subcontractor boss might be a decent man but there's also a fair chance he's a robbing bastard who'll take a kickback to even give you the chance in the first place and that he may not pay you when the job is done.
Because China operates a household registration system (the hukou system - which is seeing some reforms) rural-to-urban migrants are effectively second class citizens in their own country, excluded from urban welfare and services, with their children often unable to find places in proper schools (despite falling rolls). This comes on top of widespread social discrimination against and often poor housing for migrants.
posted by Abiezer at 5:16 PM on September 16, 2007

I heard that in Chongqing (a major south-west city) 4 years ago, a young woman (a family friend) had to sign a contract promising not to have a baby within the first three years of her employment at an insurance company. I was assured that that's rather common practice.

Employers regularly put height requirements in job ads. And yes, people do get turned down for being 1cm short.
posted by of strange foe at 9:04 PM on September 16, 2007

To tack onto Abiezer, if you come from the rural countryside and for by miracle you get into a University in a larger town, you can move your hukou to that city. What, of course do you do then if what you studied is a compatetive field in that town, perhaps because the town has a university that pumps out graduates in your specialized field that are also stuck with a hukou for that town?

You could press your luck in the big cities, but then what do you do about registering your car or getting an apartment? How do you do that without a legal hukou? The answer is, you don't, you call one of the numbers spray painted on the sides of buildings, bridges, sidewalks, bus stops, bus seats, lap posts, etc. in every city in China and get "documents" on the black market.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:16 AM on September 17, 2007

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