The general office of the State Council issued a new circular over the weekend that encouraged recent graduates to seek positions in rural areas, smaller firms or to start their own businesses.
Those graduates who assumed the role of village officials, rural teachers or doctors, or worked for residential committees of urban communities would receive social security and subsidies, such as having part or all of their tuition or loans canceled. They’d also receive preferential treatment when applying for graduate school or joining the civil service.
I’m all for looking at alternatives to create jobs. In China, one has to be open to that. There are approximately 1 million unemployed graduates at the moment and another 6.1 million are expected to join them on the job hunt later this year. Any efforts to get those students to look beyond the Fortune 500 foreign firms and the big Chinese brands should be applauded.
I question the use of using recent graduates as village officials, though. I understand that rural areas – especially in Western China – need to be modernized, but from accounts such as this one, I doubt that these jobs will really build skills:
“I thought the village would consult me on economic development,” Song said. “But there is no space for me to use my talents. Village officials just tell me what their decisions are and tell me to enforce them. The village committee and the party committee decide the most important work, such as development and how to structure industry. They rarely ask my opinion.”
Village leaders said they tend to not trust new graduates because they lack work experience. But Beijing placed them there to help “modernize” the countryside and bring new methods to handling problems.
If the jobs don’t build any skills that the students can use later in their career – and I’m not sure the ability to consume large amount of baijiu counts – then what’s the point of students taking them? Students are better off to keep looking. There will be a lot of regretful former junior village officials if all the job leads to is more work in the countryside.