College to China Grads: Don't 'Aim Too High'

Message to not be picky about work is a reflection of how tough things are there
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2023 2:58 PM CDT
College to China Grads: Don't 'Aim Too High'
   (Getty / hxdbzxy)

It might be one of the most uninspiring messages to new college grads ever conveyed in a commencement speech. "You must not aim too high or be picky about work," declared the president of Chongqing Metropolitan College of Science and Technology in China. "The opportunities are fleeting." The New York Times relays the quote as part of an in-depth look at the dicey prospects of China's college grads, as evidenced in two competing stats: First, this year's graduating class of 11.6 million students is the largest in China's history, a record expected to be broken again and again in the coming years. And, second, the unemployment rate for young adults rose to a record high 21.3% in June. It's expected to go even higher in July and August, notes the South China Morning Post.

In fact, this is the worst time in regard to youth unemployment (up to age 24) in China since the 1970s, per the SCMP. What's more, the situation is not expected to improve significantly for a decade or so. The latter outlet notes that things are so bad that college administrators, whose pay is tied to job-placement figures, have begun to regularly fudge their numbers and to pressure students to fabricate job offers. As a result, the Ministry of Education has enlisted a team of inspectors to travel the country to crack down on the phony stats.

A story at CNN continues the theme, with another telling example. It seems that a popular new trend among Chinese 20-somethings is to return home to become "full-time sons and daughters." The label first surfaced on the social media site Douban last year, and tens of thousands of young Chinese adults have since identified themselves as such. The idea is that they help their aging parents out with all manner of things in exchange for a modest salary. (More China stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.