Chinese university graduates are forced to seek overseas jobs or choose to lower their domestic job expectations due to the Covid-hit troublesome economy.

According to South China Morning Post, China’s job market faces growing uncertainty and fierce competition. Many parts of the country have imposed strict lockdowns following the government’s zero-Covid policy, plus an economic slowdown, creating a tough job market.

In addition, China’s Ministry of Education said that a record 10.76 million university graduates are expected to join the mainland job market this year.

In April, China also reported an unemployment rate of 18.2% among the youth (those aged between 16 and 24).

Those factors are all reshaping the career prospects of many young people.

Jin Jing is a 21-year-old student and she comes from a well-off family. Three months ago, she thought she could find a job in Hangzhou or Shanghai, two large cities near her hometown after she graduates.

In early 2020, she enrolled at Monash University in Australia. She had to take online classes because of Covid-related travel restrictions.

But recently, many governments have opened up their countries. Jin has decided to leave China for Australia to finish her studies and seek a job there.

Jin said that she had never thought of working abroad before, but regarding the current situation, she wants to have a try in Australia.

Unlike Jin, Dai Xiaoyan, a 19-year-old student, comes from a poorer rural family. She is graduating from Zhengzhou University, Henan province, next month.

She took an internship in Shanghai in October 2021. But for the past two months, Shanghai city imposed strict stay-at-home orders. She has been unable to work and is looking for a different path.

Though Shanghai has gradually loosened its lockdown due to lower Covid cases in the past week, most businesses are still a long way off from resuming their operations.

Last week, Dai took a train from Shanghai to Zhengzhou city. After going into quarantine for a week, she will return to her home village in nearby Xinxiang city.

Dai said she would look for jobs in Zhengzhou, but it will not be easy.

She revealed that she interned at a teahouse in Shanghai and shared an apartment with her co-workers. She earned 7,000 yuan (1,040 dollars) a month.

She said she would accept a smaller salary in Zhengzhou, maybe 5,000 to 6,000 yuan (743-890 dollars) a month.

Zhaopin.com is an online recruitment services provider. Last month, it conducted a survey, showing that China’s crowded graduating class of 2022 expected a monthly pay of around 6,295 yuan (935 dollars), 6% lower than last year’s graduates.

Around 50% had expectations of finding a job after graduating, also down 6% from last year.

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