Foreign Degree Holders Earn More, Inclusive Growth to Boost Employment, Income – China Market Watch

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Chinese graduates with foreign degrees coming home to earn more

Young Chinese professionals who have earned a degree abroad earn on average 17.2 percent more than compatriots who hold a degree from a domestic university, according to a survey of 100,000 graduates by Beijing-based recruitment firm BossZhipin.

The firm found that young professionals with a foreign degree earned RMB 7,306 (US$1,097) a month on average – short of their RMB 8,315 (US$1,249) expected monthly income. The firm’s report also claimed that Chinese graduates with degrees from France and Germany earned more on average than graduates with degrees from other countries.

The Ministry of Education reported that 544,500 students studied abroad in 2016, marking a 36 percent increase on the number of students that studied abroad in 2012. However, in contrast to years past, more students are returning to China than ever before: 80 percent of study abroad students returned home for work in 2016, compared to only 30 percent in 2006.

The increase in returnees reflects the increasingly competitive Chinese labor market, which benefits from lucrative incentives in some locations. The Ministry reports that 16.2 percent of study abroad students work for internet firms, 14.9 percent opt for the business and financial sectors, 13.4 work in education, while 8.7 choose media positions and 6.4 percent work in culture and entertainment.

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Inclusive development goals to spur employment, income growth

At the recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping announced government plans to prioritize more inclusive economic growth. Officials have framed the change in policy as a transition from a period of rapid growth that prioritized GDP growth targets to a period of sustainable growth that will prioritize efficiency.

The prioritization of quality growth, rather than fast growth, takes aim at “the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life”, as described by Xi during his speech.

Many observers expect officials to place increased policy focus on employment, income growth and distribution, as well as balance of payments. Home ownership affordability, education quality, and access to medical services are other issues that Xi addressed during the speech.


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