China offers hope, culture to college graduates

For a diverse set of UNA students looking to graduate, job opportunities in China seem promising.

Chenee Boyd Staff Writer

Recent statistics by the China Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security find that China may be the new assuring area to go to and look for a job after college graduation.

The statistics showed that China had 6.31 million new college graduates, and about 90.7 percent of them found employment by 2010.

“If a student is interested in looking for a job in China, it is best to learn both the culture and the history of China,” said Dr. Chunsheng Zhang, vice provost for international affairs. “The culture is just as important as the business aspect of it. If you do not know how to interact with the people, it can be quite challenging when looking for a job. Yet if you learn about the country, learn the language and can offer something that someone else cannot, then you will find a job.”

The municipal unemployment rate in China remained at 4.1 percent at the end of 2010, leaving 9.08 percent of China’s citizens listed as jobless.

Thirty of China’s provinces have increased the minimum wage level. The average monthly increase is 22.8 percent and has been since the end of last year.

Statistics also show than an estimated 6.6 million college graduates will enter the job market this year. This means that some students may have to leave their home country to go and look for work after they graduate.

China is also one of the fastest growing economic countries in the world now. They have at least 1.3 billion people, which tends to give people a better opportunity to find work. It is also the fourth largest trade partner in the state of Alabama.

Even though China has a lot of opportunity and has numerous jobs available, the job market is very competitive there, as well as in the U.S. and other countries, according to Lin Zhang, a UNA professor who teaches Chinese.

“It depends on what type of job you are applying for,” she said. “China is looking for people who speak both English and Chinese, yet have the skills to develop. For instance, if you are a business major and you speak Chinese fluently, then you will definitely find a job in China. Even if you are looking for a teaching job in China, and you are fluent in both languages, you will find a job, because the students in China begin learning English in grade school.”

Culture is one of the main things that graduates should learn when deciding whether to travel to other countries to look for work.

“When people go to China, there may be a bit of a culture shock,” Lin said. “Learning the language isn’t enough because people tend to do things differently in China. The way of life is somewhat different, too. Before someone decides to look for a job in China or in any other country, it is best to learn about the values and the customs of the people in that region.”