[photopress:jooob_fair_nanjing.jpg,full,alignright]Getting a degree is one thing. Getting a job because of that degree is something else again. In today’s Chinese job market, employers are inundated with applications and need a way to weed them. The illustration of a job fair in Nanjing gives an idea of the numbers.
(A personal aside. On a major metropolitan newspaper we had over 2,000 applicants a year from people who wanted to become journalists. We filtered them by rejecting any that contained spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Normally that left less than 100 applications to deal with.)
In China many employers believe the best way to weed them out is to choose those whose bachelor degrees are from prestigious universities. Note that it is the first degree that counts. The universities where they got their master or doctorate degrees, even if they are from famous post-secondary institutions, are not considered totally relevant. The first degree is the filter.
China Youth Daily ran a survey regarding the relationship between where job seekers got their first degrees and employment results. Some 7,331 people in total completed the questionnaires, almost totally young people.
Among the job seekers surveyed, 69.9% thought it irrational for prospective employers to put more weight on applicants’ first degrees, rather than their highest degrees during the recruitment process.
Of the total, 71.5% of them believe employers, especially those from well-known enterprises, pay more attention on where candidates got their first degrees.
Gao Yuhang, a department director of Beijing Talent Service Center said, ‘The universities where applicants got their first degrees are a big concern for employers. Although they are not allowed to list this particular criterion, they will definitely focus on this area in the recruitment process. This is a hidden rule. Moreover, those big enterprises put applicants’ first degree in an important position, while medium and small companies pay more attention to candidates’ experiences and capabilities.’
Gan Pai is the human resources director of a large IT company. She says she receives thousands of resumes for one position. ‘We really don’t have time to read them all. So we add more requirements to these candidates. It’s not a perfect method but we have to reduce recruitment costs.
‘We respect every applicant. But we do believe the four-year university education is very important to graduates. A postgraduate with a first degree at a top university is different from those who come from an ordinary university. Employees in some enterprises even get their starting salaries based on the reputations of their universities.’
Graduates are frustrated with this recruiting method. In reply Gan Pai said in a phrase that might be thought less than diplomatic, ‘The graduate should not shift responsibility for not being hired by a company to the so-called first-degree prejudice.’