With a growing number of Chinese students going abroad for their higher education, the Chinese labour market is seeing an increasing amount of people returning from abroad with a new, highly educated and international outlook entering the workforce.
According to the Ministry of Education, in 2016, 544,500 Chinese students studied overseas, 144,900 people more than 2012; while the number of returnees in 2016 was 432,500 up 159,600 than 2012.
According to the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, 63% of returning Chinese students are equipped with a master’s degree. The majority of these students – almost 80% – went to English speaking nations like the US, UK and Australia for their studies. Most are aged between 23 and 30 years old; finding a secure and rewarding career is a top priority for many.
The top 10 countries where Chinese students study abroad
- United States: 260,914 students
- Australia: 90,245 students
- Japan: 89,788 students
- United Kingdom: 86,204 students
- Canada: 42,011 students
- Republic of Korea: 38,109 students
- Hong Kong: 25,801 students
- France: 25,388 students
- Germany: 19,441 students
- New Zealand: 13,952 students
Foreign students in China on the rise
The number of foreign students in China is also continuing to rise, with more than 400’000 coming to China in 2016 – an increase of 35% since 2012.
According to the country’s Ministry of Education, South Korea, America and Thailand topped the list of countries sending students to China, followed by Pakistan, India, Russia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Japan and Vietnam.
The most popular cities for people looking for work are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where almost 60% of people surveyed said they would like to work. Most students lacked experience before beginning their studies, but more than 85% found part time work or an internship while abroad.
Job seekers are interested in finding work relating to their areas of study, and are aiming for places offering good personal development with an international outlook. Applicants with overseas work and study experience have a much better understanding of foreign culture and work ethics, so they are well placed to look for these kinds of roles.