Sunday, 10 June 2007

Overseas Education and Job Prospects in China

This blog continues to assess the economics of Chinese students undertaking an overseas education. The merits of taking postgraduate education abroad are numerous including language skill and receiving a top quality education.

However, the number of applicants from China to UK Universities for example has been falling in the last few years by between 10 and 20% a year by my rough estimates.

One reason that I have always suspected is the state of the domestic job market relative to the high costs of studying in the US or UK. With more and more overseas graduates with PhDs, MBAs and MSCs and increasing competition from domestic graduates, starting salaries are often not reaching expectations and are certainly not sufficient to pay of the large debts accrued during their study period.

Some of the quotes from the article below are worrying - if the UK wants to continue to attract the best Chinese students they must ensure that they are offering a quality product that allows the student to differentiate themselves from the domestic graduate.

My last post on this issue was a couple of days ago:
High Education Costs, Low Executive Pay

The latest article on this topic comes from H/T: PanAsianBiz.

Overseas PhD Students Upset at Salary Offers

Some job hunters who attended the first special job fair for Chinese overseas students in Beijing on Sunday were disappointed to learn salaries offered were much less than they expected.

The Beijing Morning Post reported that more than 40 reputed enterprises and public institutions, such as Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Peking University and Chinese computer giant Lenovo joined in the job fair looking for qualified talents.

The fair attracted more than 2,000 job hunters holding advanced academic degrees issued by overseas universities and colleges.

However, although they held master or PhD degrees, the job hunters found many of employers only offered month salaries as low as 3,000-yuan (about 375 US dollars), almost equivalent to those offered for bachelors who graduated from a domestic university.

After nearly one-hour's search, Yu Yang, who got a MBA degree from a British university, said it was hard to find a satisfying job.

"I expect a monthly salary of around 8,000 yuan (some 1,000 US dollars). But what the employers offer is much lower than that," Yu Yang said. "It is imbalanced compared to the cost I spent studying abroad for two years - a sum about 500,000 yuan or above 64,000 US dollars."

A recruiting official from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications said the institution is inclined to recruit degree holders who have returned from overseas because they "usually possess an international view".

"However, we offer the same benefit package to employees in the same posts, no matter if they studied at home or abroad," the official said.
"The salary offered for some candidates with doctorate degrees is about 3,000 yuan per month."

Degree holders who return from abroad are increasing, said another employer.

"They do not have many advantages now," the employer said. "We will not favor a candidate just because he or she returns from abroad. We attach more importance to their capacities and work experience."

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