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Chinese university graduates are employed in multiple jobs to sustain their livelihood.

Chinese university graduates are employed in multiple jobs to sustain their livelihood.

After graduating from Hebei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in acupuncture and massage, Liu Chang’s post-college life did not meet his expectations.

Since 2022, he has been employed in the administrative department of a community hospital in Shijiazhuang, Hebei. Similar to many new graduates in China, he has discovered that his salary is insufficient to cover his expenses. As a result, he began running a street stall in September to supplement his earnings.

“He shared with VOA how his usual routine as a street vendor included leaving work at 5 p.m. on December 18th and using a food bike to travel to the night market.”

Liu mentioned that there were already a lot of stall owners. Due to the recent cold weather, there has been a decrease in the number of people coming out compared to the summer. However, when business is thriving, Liu goes out every night and earns around four to five thousand yuan per month, which is equivalent to their monthly salary from the hospital.

He shared that he was born in 1997 into a disadvantaged family living in a rural area. While his younger brother pursued a postgraduate degree in environmental science at Hebei University of Science and Technology, Liu’s parents were only able to financially support one child’s education. As a result, they have not provided any financial assistance to Liu since he entered college. At times, he even lacked the funds to seek medical treatment when he fell ill.

is not only a nationwide concern, but it also has long-lasting effects on the economy

The high rate of unemployment among young adults is a pressing issue not just for the country as a whole, but also has significant and lasting impacts on the economy.

Liu’s story is not unique. The unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds in China reached a record high of 21.3% in June, according to official data, raising concerns about what tens of millions of college students each year will do after graduation.

According to Liu, as white-collar jobs become more scarce, an increasing number of college graduates are resorting to working in the informal sector. The rise in economic uncertainty has led many individuals to pursue street vending as a means of income.

Liu mentioned that a number of their classmates are following this trend. Due to financial constraints after graduation, they opt to lease a residence instead of purchasing one. As a result, they are constantly struggling to make ends meet.

“After graduating, I interviewed with 18 different companies within the first two years,” he explained. “Unfortunately, the offered salaries were too low and the job positions were not aligned with my area of study.”

He stated, “I am only working to survive. Despite studying extensively, I have not been able to apply any of the knowledge I gained. Even my current job has nothing to do with my field of study.”

Wang Haisheng, a resident of Meizhou City in Guangdong province, obtained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical design, manufacture, and automation from Luoyang University of Science and Technology in 2018. Following his graduation, he spent over a year working in sales at Luoyang Northern Glass Technology.

But, because of the current situation with the pandemic and his health, he had to return to his hometown. There, he was employed in the engineering department of a food factory and earned a monthly salary of 4,000 yuan ($560).

Wang stated that he was given the least active role of monitoring wind turbines on a daily basis. However, he was terminated less than a year afterwards due to shifts in management.

According to him, individuals who hold the same college degree as him work in the factory and earn less than 4,000 yuan. Despite working an average of 10 to 12 hours per day, they do not receive the same benefits for insurance and housing that are given to many other workers in China.

According to Wang, the college graduates are employed as contractors and receive only 70% of the salary of regular employees. The majority of workers at the company are contractors due to their lower cost.

There is a significant difference between what is expected and what actually happens.

After losing his job at the food factory, Wang attempted to make money by selling plants through the internet but was unsuccessful. Due to his financial constraints, he resorted to setting up a street vending stall in July.

Wang explained that his father is employed at a building location and his two sisters are currently married with kids, leaving him without any assistance.

Similarly, according to him, numerous university graduates in China have faced challenges in adjusting their expectations.

He stated that the job has no purpose and the procedure is extremely agonizing.

“The disparity between our aspirations and the actuality is significant,” he stated. “As children, we were taught to believe we would conquer the world. However, in reality, we are simply average citizens who struggle to secure employment where we can utilize our education.”

In 2012, Li Ping graduated from Beijing Normal University. He has been selling shoes and bags at a stall in the Xizhimen area of Beijing since 2017, even while having a regular job. After losing his full-time job, street vending became his sole means of earning money.

A college graduate named Li, whose studies focused on information management and information systems, stated that financial struggles are the primary concern for street vendors with a higher education. Despite the government’s supposed efforts to address this issue, Li noted that there has been no noticeable progress.

According to Li, the current work environment is simply the way it is, and the only option is to adjust to the situation.