Why is it so hard for Chinese new graduates to find a job?
After the COVID-19 pandemic, fresh graduates found it extremely difficult to find a job and experienced a lot of psychological pressure. Why do universities and society rarely help them and how do they respond?
“It’s September now, and I haven’t even had an interview invitation yet.”
Jie is a graduate student of a 211 University in Beijing, major in psychology. She hopes to enter the Internet industry because the senior told her that Internet companies are fast developing and have a relaxed atmosphere, and the salaries for new graduates are relatively high. “Internet companies started hiring at the end of July. I do not know how many positions are left in September.”
Moreover, since the COVID-19 appeared at the beginning of 2020, and it has had a massive impact on graduates’ employment. Compared with 2019, the number of recruitment positions for the week of resumption of work during the Spring Festival fell by 71.66%
On July 8, 2021, ByteDance started campus recruitment. Since then, almost all major Internet companies have started campus recruitment for 2022 new graduates. Alibaba’s 2022 campus recruitment opens 113 positions for new graduates, which is considered to be the largest school recruitment in Alibaba’s history. Jingdong said that the positions for new graduates in 2022 would increase by 30% compared to last year. It seems that these giant companies are eagerly waiting for you.
According to the “Research Report on University Students’ Employability” released by Zhilian Recruitment, college graduates will exceed 9 million in 2021, and 25.4% of them are expecting to enter the IT Internet industry, ranking first in the expected industry rankings, and the number is equal to the sum of the three behind industries. The jobs offered by gaint Internet companies is limited.
A Tencent recruiter who works for campus recruitment revealed that Tencent’s campus recruitment received hundreds of thousands of resumes last year, but the positions were only more than 3,000, and the acceptance rate was less than 10%. This year, new graduates need to face more severe employment situations.
In most people’s perceptions, the proportion of national civil servants admitted is the lowest among all job opportunities. In 2021, the most popular application for national civil servants is 2774:1. However, a well-known Internet company position is 3000: 1. Tencent’s acceptance rate is already approaching civil servants and large central government-owned enterprises. According to Zixiangxian, the average acceptance rate of national civil service examinations in the past ten years is about 2%, and the acceptance rate of large central enterprises such as Sinopec and PetroChina is about 4%.
Even though the attractiveness of Internet companies for new graduates seems to be reduced due to long working hours, the Internet industry has the most enormous influx of talents.
“For most young people, the Internet industry is our best choice. It is very tiring, but can you do cushy jobs the whole life until you are old?” a fresh graduate asked rhetorically, “The treatment offered by big factories is generally good. , Basically, it is 2 times that of traditional enterprises.
For young people who are still outside the Internet industry and eager to join but would not know where to start, slogans such as “Alibaba, 300,000 yuan annual salary, flat management structure, and relaxed working atmosphere” grasp their attention. After 5 or 6 short videos on Douyin and Bilibili, new graduates quickly followed the influencer. The ultimate goal of the influencers is to sell “workplace courses”. After the fresh graduates have paid thousands or tens of thousands of yuan, the “workplace private education” influencers have also completed their job.
“I feel that I am only one training class away from my dream company.” One month after preparing for the autumn campus recruitment, this is the first impression left by the Job Concelling Institution, Li said, who is a 2021 international student Jie Li. The dazzling and attractive Job Concelling Institutions’ posters even gave her a false illusion-as long as she spent enough money, she can get whatever she want.
“Stress and anxiety are part of my daily routine. The first thing is to check the mailbox, whether there is a new interview invitation or rejection letter.” Li said. Anxiety is the common emotion among most of the students of payment. The common strategy of the Job Concelling Institution is to sell anxiety to new graduates and then sell courses.
However, after understanding the curriculum settings and teacher qualifications, Jie Li discovered a huge gray industrial chain behind the job market. If you do not pay attention, you will fall into the trap established by the institution. Not only that, this phenomenon is also inseparable from the contradiction between the limited number of vacancies and the gradual increase of new graduates.
“Congratulations! I have forwarded your resume to the hiring department for further review. Now we invite you to a written test. Please submit before 12 o’clock tonight.” Huang graduated from Tsinghua University, a top university in China. During the autumn campus recruitment, he received a written test invitation from a “Xiaomi recruiter”. This man said that he represented “Zhimi Company”, which is part of “Xiaomi Group”.
After Huang submitted the written test, the recruiter contacted him the next day and said that Huang “failed to pass the written test, but from the interviewer’s feedback, I personally think you still have great potential. However, you lack systematic thinking for this Product Manager role.”
Huang asked modestly about how to improve his systematic thinking. This recruiter began to promote the course: “I have a former colleague, he used to work for Alibaba as a Product Manager. And now he is doing some work to help new graduates find jobs. There will be free courses every week, and I recommend you to listen to them.”
Huang sensitively realized that this “ZhiMi recruiter” was lying because he had only applied for Xiaomi Group but had not applied for “ZhiMi Technology”.
Many students have similar experiences like Huang, but not all students are sensitive enough to scams. For example, Li, a new graduate studying abroad, had been greatly deceived.
Li was doing postgraduate study in the UK in 2021. She was stranded in The UK because of the Covid19 pandemic and did not prepare for the fall campus recruitment until the end of August. “I know nothing about the job market.” In order to adapt to the Chinese job market as soon as possible, Li sign up for an “X MAX Plan” run by “Haitu Education and Training Institution” at the end of September.
However, she did not expect that the high-paid courses she purchased not only failed to solve her problems but also became the main reason for increased distress and irritability.
At the beginning of the course, Li found out that she had been deceived. The follow-up job mentor was not a “famous teacher” with five years of work experience in the Tencent, but a young job mentor with a perfunctory attitude. Moreover, what made her even more uncomfortable was that some of the students’ job opportunities get by their own efforts were also regarded as Haiti’s “guidance achievement”.
Another service that career advisory agencies guarantee is “Internal Referral”. “Recommendation and Internal Referral are different. The Internal Referral is to send your resume to HR directly, but the Recommendation is not like that. Recommendation means new graduates use referral code, and the process is basically the same as without a referral code.” A recruiter who works for top Internet company said.
There is no need to pay extra money for a referral code. On the contrary, if candidates join this company, the company will reward a bonus for referencing.
For example, KPMG issued statements stating that the recruitment team reaches directly with candidates and there is no charge for “Recommendation or Internal Referral”.
Every year there is news about the trap of recruiting paid courses. Why are there still new graduates willing to pay for it every year? Industry insiders argue that “Education and Training Institutions sell anxiety, and the effectiveness of training will vary from person to person. So long as there is demand, this market will always exist.”
There is the news of fresh graduates being cheated of money by the Job Concelling Institution every year. New graduates also know that job counselling courses are expensive, but they can not rely on the course. However, at the time of autumn campus recruitment every year, a large number of students still sign up for classes. For this group of students, job counselling institutions are like a placebo. They often think that “buying a large price for tutorials is to prove that they are already working hard to find a job.”
Nowadays, online forums such as Zhihu and Douban have many complaints and discussions about Job Education and Training Institutions. However, institutions choose to spend money to write positive reviews and delete posts. Tech World has reported that the refund rate is as high as 70% or more for new graduates who signed up for the whole package. However, even if institutions rely on the remaining 30%, they can maintain their operations.
Regarding the experience in Haitu Training Institution, Li decided to defend her rights with legal tools. After talking with a lawyer friend, she realized that she could not appeal, “The content of the contract terms is different from the conditions of the verbal offer at the time, and I do not have enough evidence.”
Li had tried to contact the graduates who had the same experience. “It is very difficult to find graduates who have the same experience on the Internet. Haitu doesn’t have group chats with all their students. Maybe it is to prevent students from exchanging information and defend their rights.”
Jie Li told me reluctantly, “Now I can only continue to go to course with anger and endure the day when I get the offer.”
The excellent and lucky fresh graduates finally waited for the “Offer Call”, which is verbally informed the candidates that they had passed all the interviews after written tests, group interviews and four or five rounds of one-on-one interviews. However, this call has no legal effect.
The number of candidates that Huawei passes through the interview each year is higher than the final headcounts. Candidates need to wait for the formal offer after receiving the e-mail that passed the interview. This period is called the “dipping in the talent pool” A graduate who once participated in Huawei’s campus recruitment said: “The people in the pool are all sorted. If the higher-ranking candidate refuses the offer, the candidates with lower-ranking will get automatic admission.”
Therefore, “dipping in the talent pool” became the tacit state of this group of candidates.
On the job-seeking platform Niuke.com, search for “Huawei, pool”, and you can find the “pool groups” of Huawei’s various business groups and positions. The anxious candidates comforted each other and exchanged information.
Huang Yu graduated in 2021. In the summer and autumn of 2020, she had dozens of interviews for nearly four months. Finally, Chen got offers from Tencent, Bytedance, Baidu, Meituan and other top Internet companies. After careful consideration, Chen chose a promising Internet company. However, this choice became the beginning of her nightmare for the next six months.
The company asked Huang Yu to do an internship in advance. “I thought that it would be great to be familiar with business.” Huang Yu did not expect that she would not have enough time for her graduation thesis because of an internship.
Two months after the internship, Huang Yu received a notice from the University that the graduation thesis reviewing had become stricter. In order to concentrate on the graduation thesis, Huang Yu explained the situation to her leader, hoping to suspend the internship and continue the internship after finishing the graduation thesis. This kind of request is very common. New graduates must first complete their studies.
However, the company ignored Huang Yu ‘s request but asked her to complete the thesis before the end of the Spring Festival, and then returned to work. At this time, there is only less than one month left before the Spring Festival, which means that Huang Yu only has just 30 days for a postgraduate thesis.
“Have they ever written a paper? How can it be possible for me to finish a professional paper within one month? “
However, the company did not give Huang Yu time to complete the thesis. Instead, HR said that “the business is very busy and the company is short of hands. It is irresponsible performance to leave the company to deal with private affairs now, and it is not in line with the company’s core values.”
“It is not stated in the contract that I must come for an internship, and the internship is so long.” After choosing this company, Huang Yu rejected other companies immediately. “They knew I had no other choice.”
However, at that time, Huang Yu had no retreat. “I asked them if they could give me more time, even if I leave for a month then continue the internship.” It seems that it is a humble request, but HR still refused. “Thet even asked me to make choices early. If I give up this position, they will find another candidate to replace me.”
After two months, Huang Yu has gradually become familiar with the business and feels qualified for the job. She did not understand why the company would rather recruit a fresh graduate than give her this opportunity.
Huang Yu had to give up this job in order to finish the thesis and graduate on time. She joined the spring campus recruitment after Spring Festival, and no one knew that she had received offers from almost all the top Internet companies.
“I extremely doubted myself during that time.” Huang Yu said. What was left to her, apart from a ruined contract, was exhausted self-doubt.
There is a huge disparity between the company and graduates. When every year is “the most difficult job hunting season”, the company has the “power of life and death” for the graduates.
Almost every year during the graduation season, there will be news that the company destroys offers. The situation like Huang Yu did not even cause something of a stir. Even if a batch of new graduates’ contracts were breached, nobody did anything with it. In 2020, NetEase ruined a batch of fresh graduates’ offers; in October 2021, a new graduates post at Niuke.com, accusing Xiaomi ruin his offer; within a few days, the organizational structure of Bytedance’s commercialization team was greatly adjusted, and a group of fresh graduates were dismissed. As long as Internet company is where most fresh graduates want to join, they always have tons of excellent candidates to choose from.
According to the “Research Report on University Students’ Employability” released by Zhaolian Recruitment, in 2021, college graduates will exceed 9 million, of which 25.4% of graduates expect to enter the IT industry, ranking first in the expected industry rankings.
The high salary and development potential have attracted more than one million graduates and created a highly unbalanced supply-demand relationship.
“Buyer’s market” has deepened the asymmetric relationship. It is no big deal for large companies to lose an applicant because more qualified candidates are waiting for them to choose.
Young people need to protect themselves with legal weapons.
According to Xu Zhiwen, a legal researcher on the “Zhicheng Workers” public welfare legal platform, although the tripartite agreement is not a substitute for a labour contract, it is still a valid legal agreement.
In other words, after Huang Yu signed a tripartite contract with the company and before signing a formal labour contract, the company should not dismiss her from a legal point of view. The company can only use other methods to force her to resign voluntarily. Fresh graduates lack social experience, are thin-skinned, and have insufficient legal knowledge, and their interests are easily damaged.
In addition to Huang Yu’s forced resignation, a large number of new graduates who signed the tripartite agreement also need to have a penalty charge if they choose another company.
Moreover, only graduates stipulate compensation according to the tripartite agreement. For example, in 2020, JD.com stipulated in the tripartite agreement that if the graduates are in breach of contract, they will be required to pay a penalty of 5,000 yuan. There are very few compensation agreements for the company’s breach of contract, which further increases the difficulty of making claims after the graduates are breached.
According to article 22 of the “Labor Contract Law”: “Employers who provide special training fees for employees and provide them with professional technical training may agree with the employee to stipulate the service period. If the employee violates the service period agreement, they shall pay liquidated damages to the employer in accordance with the contract. The amount of the liquidated damages shall not exceed the training expenses provided by the employer. The liquidated damages required by the employer shall not exceed the training expenses that should be shared for the unfulfilled portion of the service period.”
If there is no relevant stipulation in the tripartite agreement, it will be more difficult for fresh graduates to claim compensation. In response to this situation, Xu Zhiwen added: “You can try to collect relevant evidence to prove your loss, but in the end, the court will consider various factors to determine the amount of compensation as appropriate.”
In November 2021, the autumn campus recruitment for this year’s new graduates has ended. The fruit of 16 or even 20 years of hard work has begun to come to light. Fresh graduates who get offers from multiple companies share their joy on social networks. It seems that the Covid-19 epidemic has never happened before, and there are still a promising future waiting for them. Some fresh graduates have nothing after dozens of interviews.
This year is crucial for fresh graduates to enter the real world, but it is also a very short year in a long life.