University student and regional disparity in China

2007-03-15 - chong

According to an investigation of the working condition of 14,000 white collar workers in Beijing, 52% of respondents answer “always work overtime” and only 4% answer “rarely work overtime”. 73% are not paid for overtime by their employers who violate labor law stipulating it as 150% of the basic salary. Some argue that there is an oversupply of university degree holders.

In 1998, only 1.084 million people were admitted to university. There were 2.158 million university students. Since 1999, there has been a rapid expansion of university enrollment. From 2004-2006, the intake increases from 4 million to 5.3 million. In 2006, about 1.24 million university graduates failed to get a job. In 2006, of a total of 4.13 million university graduates, 66.10% earned 1000-2000 yuan monthly.

Yet the expansion of tertiary education sector is not the main cause for the gloomy labor market. In the national population, the number of university students and graduates is not that high, only about the sixtieth in the world.

According to a survey conducted by the National Statistics Bureau, half of the university graduates receive an income lower than their expected salary. Among them, 60% refuse to look for jobs in remote area and medium and small size cities. As Li Zhi Jie and Hu Feng argue, there is a three-tier structure in China: Formal sector of large cities, informal sector and rural village. The gap between them is huge and increasing.

Sun Li Ping, a sociologist at Tsinghua University, argues that since the 1990s, resource and opportunities have been highly concentrated in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Regional disparity becomes so serious that a university graduate might feel hopeless in the less developed region. That is why many people squeeze into the developed areas.

Photo: scribeoflight