Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
2nd Jul 2019

More than eight million graduates from Chinese universities this year

China’s People’s Daily newspaper reports that the nation’s universities graduated more than 8.34 million people in summer 2019, up from 8.2 million in 2018. This record graduation rate reflects the remarkable growth in higher education participation in China over the last 20 years. The tipping point for enrolment growth in Chinese higher education happened around the year 2000. The gross enrolment ratio was nearly 8% that year, and UNESCO reports that that key metric had surpassed 51% as of 2018. Over that same period, total enrolment in Chinese universities climbed from 7.36 million to more than 44 million. (For comparison’s sake, total higher education enrolment in the United States peaked at just over 21 million students in 2011 and has been declining marginally ever since.) In a media briefing in late 2018, China’s Vice Minister of Education Lin Huiqing acknowledged that this year’s graduates would face a more challenging and competitive job market, but added, “We have the condition and capability to deal with challenges and difficulties, as the country's economy runs steadily and the business environment keeps improving.” Indeed, a recently updated labour market indicator would seem to back up the vice minister’s claim. The China Institute for Employment Research (CIER) index, which seeks to measure supply and demand in the domestic labour market, declined from 1.54 in 2017 to 1.41 in 2018. Put another way, the CIER index calculates that there were still 1.41 employment opportunities for every university graduate as of 2018. The decline in the index this year reflects that not only are there more degree-holding graduates seeking career opportunities in China, but also that the economy has been cooling somewhat – a trend that will be aggravated further by US-China trade tensions this year. In a recent statement to CNBC, a spokesperson for China’s National Development and Reform Commission confirmed that some companies are scaling back their efforts to recruit Chinese graduates. “Due to (the) impact from the continued increase of China-US economic trade frictions and other uncertainties, recruitment demand for university graduates is tightening in Internet, finance, and other industries…Some companies have postponed their campus recruiting efforts.” Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post notes that employment concerns are looming larger for graduates: “The number of Chinese graduates will rise 140,000 from last year at the same time as firms struggle to prevent massive lay-offs in a slowing economy, increasing the central government’s concern to the point that it formed a special task force under the State Council this month to spearhead efforts to secure employment.” And a survey of more than 88,000 Chinese graduates, conducted in the early months of 2019 by the online job platform Zhaopin, found that nearly nine in ten (88%) felt it would be difficult to find a job this year. Another 8% said they would be willing to take a gap year after graduation (up from 7% who indicated the same in 2018). For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Demand for study abroad in Australia, Canada, UK already affected by new international education policies Read More
  • International school openings, enrolments, and revenues continue to expand Read More
  • South Korea announces results of annual evaluation of universities and colleges’ international programmes Read More

Most Popular

  • Canada’s foreign enrolment grew by more than 30% in 2022 Read More
  • Measuring cost of study and cost of living across study destinations Read More
  • Recruiting in the Emirates: Big goals, world-class education, and new scholarships Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Demand for study abroad in Australia, Canada, UK already affected by new international education policies New, restrictive policies concerning international students in the UK, Canada, and Australia are already having a significant impact...
Read more
South Korea announces results of annual evaluation of universities and colleges’ international programmes On 8 February 2024, the Korean government announced the results of its annual evaluation of colleges and universities’...
Read more
Australia’s “blueprint for change” for higher education calls for a more diverse and balanced international enrolment After just over a year of consultation and review, 820 written submissions, 180 meetings, and a hotly debated...
Read more
Australian unis brace for risk assessment as visa rejections continue Australia’s education providers continue to grapple with a significant spike in visa rejections. As many as 1 in...
Read more
Former edtech unicorn’s stock price plunges as universities take DIY approach to online learning The edtech giant 2U is experiencing market and financial pressures severe enough that earlier this month it warned...
Read more
Malaysia opens new post-study visa option for degree graduates Effective 1 December 2023, Malaysia introduced a package of new visa settings designed to make it easier for...
Read more
New policies, Erasmus+, and booming tourism boost Spain’s international education sector New government policies in Spain – as well as a changed competitive context in the broader international education...
Read more
Dutch universities detail plan to reduce international enrolment The Dutch government spent most of last year signalling its concern about the rapid growth of international student...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links