2016 has brought a number of bad surprises for employers, but the worst might be having to resume recruitment this month for roles they filled in July.
A stunning number of graduates are choosing to walk out on their jobs in fewer than six months. One survey from Mycos Research found that 38 percent of the 2015 graduates resigned from their jobs within the same window.
But while society has castigated office workers for their “weak perseverance and irresponsibility,” the grads themselves say they only care about pursuing their dreams.
Hitting the Limit
Lu was born in 1990s. Last month, he submitted his resignation to a company in Shenzhen where he had labored for fewer than two months.
Lu had a temporary occupation as a security guard during his internship, but it was very different from his desired position of regional sale representative. In 2015, Lu signed a contract with the computer company when they visited his school’s job fair.
But Lu soon learned the position he had signed up for didn’t need extra hands. He was assigned to work in a factory clearing weeds and stepping in on the assembly line as needed. In July, he got a text message offering him a job as a security guard.
“It’s fair to say I have to work in a number of areas to get familiar with the company’s structure, but being moved to security guard after signing up for sales is too much,” Lu said. He said fewer than 20 of the company’s 100 newly hired graduates chose to stay after its “internship policy.”
Lu’s experience is merely one side of the story.
Tingting, a young woman from Wuhan, left a steady job in her hometown to take a chance in the big city. She came to Beijing as a migrant worker.
The capital is famous for its extraordinarily high cost of living, but it’s a price Tingting was willing to pay for access to its opportunity. Today she works as a real estate accountant only a year after her graduation.
When asked about their reasons for resignation, most graduates shared similar experiences. A survey by the Yangtse Daily found that young employees leave their jobs on account of low wages, high pressure and lack of chances to gain experience. Many Chinese graduates said they felt an enormous gap between their ambitions and the real world.
“Once I feel bored in a position, I just quit. I think career is all about change. The more work you’ve done, the more you know what you really care about and are good at,” said Wang on his interview with Sohu.com.
Pros and Cons
The common explanation for rising rate of job resignations is that the 1990s has adopted a much stronger degree of individualism.
“Most people born in the 1990s are the only child in their families. They are accustomed to being handed things by others, not to earning it themselves,” said Wang Ke, a psychologist from Qingdao Psychology Center. “The cozy environment leads to strong self-awareness and personality.”
Wang said that kind of personality isn’t such a problem in college, but it quickly leads to conflicts in the workplace.
“Most graduates won’t find themselves superior in work. If they don’t get the salary they want, then nothing will keep them from resigning,” Wang said.
The rapid turnover in human resources has been a problem for companies as well. After sparing no effort to find new staff, young employees offer a poor return on their investment.
“Honestly speaking, the number of people who quit after only one month is incredible,” a company HR director said. Some quit even before they have met their coworkers. “Leaving any company in a month means never learning anything practical.”
A consultant from the Student Career Center at Hebei University of Economics and Business surnamed Jia said students don’t understand the danger of switching jobs too frequently. Quitting is closely connected to career loyalty and personal credit. People with a long record of rapid job changes become less desirable to hiring managers.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. A few commentators have stood up to defend the graduates’ seemingly risky choices.
“I think this generation’s frequent job changes are completely normal. Their needs aren’t being satisfied, so this is really the same as any other personnel change,” said Guo Lichang, a teacher from Xinyang Normal College.
A Way Out
Guo said the solution requires a better effort by both students and employers during the recruitment process.
The author said companies need to overhaul their recruitment policies to convey corporate identity from the first day. Universities also need to encourage more students to visit their career centers so they can have a clear idea what they want to pursue after graduation.
Mo Gong, an author from Nanfang Metropolis Daily, also encouraged employers to look at how they are using new hires and interns with unbiased eyes.
“I know there are many companies who requiring new employees to do a six-month unpaid internship while ignoring the employees’ personal development. That sounds similar to exploitation, doesn’t it?” Mo said. The writer suggested talented people could be retained by offering more opportunity for personal growth and diversion.
Feng Xiliang, dean of the Capital University of Economics and Business, encouraged graduates to accumulate three years of experience at their first position to learn more about the professional world.
“In China’s last two generations, there was a greater focus on teamwork. Those born in the 1990s are more likely to focus on personal development and achievement,” Feng said. Others said graduates may learn to embrace the work environment as they confront ever-increasing competition.
“After all, you are the one who has to adapt to your new surroundings. You can’t expect others to change the world to fit you,” said Jia, a consultant at the Student Career Center of Hebei University of Economics and Business.