Job Hunting with a Shantou Degree

I’ve felt a little lost recently as my right-hand-woman, Camille, has gone to Guangzhou to complete testing for a job. Marina, in my cast, also is going to Guangzhou as she interviews with make-everything giant Proctor and Gamble (P&G).

It’s facinating to hear about the job hunt in China especially from student’s of Shantou University. This school is located in the bustling Guangdong province, known for being incredibly productive due to its proximity to Hong Kong. However, the University is not in an international city. It’s no Shanghai, Beijing, or even Guangzhou. It’s a paradox of being big by U.S. standards (8.3 million people in Shantou and surrounding areas) but I guarentee that even some people in China will never have heard of it.

I wanted to learn more about the subject of employment in the Shantou region and from the University. Due to a news article on how “Google Opens 8 Sites in Europe, Widening Its Books Search Effort,” I tried Google Print for the first time. Searching “Shantou University,” I was met with a book entitled, Work and Employment in a Globalized Era: An Asia Pacific Focus. Editors Yaw A. Deborah and Ian G. Smith divided Shantou University’s graduates into those coming from the Shantou area and those from other provinces. They found a correlation: Shantou-area students are most likely “management stream” (MG) students and students from other provinces are most likely “international business” (IB) students. From data taken from University grads, the editors went on to say,

It appears that Chaosan [Shantou-area] students have self-selected a more stable, predictable stream of study in anticipation of secure, well-paying management jobs. On the other hand, IB students seem to be aspiring for adventure, citing “travel” and “learn more things” more often than their MG friends. … IB students are somewhat more internationalized in their outlook, with 39% saying they would choose to work with foreigners (compared to 15% of MG students).

The captivating stats go on supporting the fact that other province IB students are the most “relatively internationalized.” But what I have seen on campus is a push to change that: the school wants all its students to learn English and set out for the international scene even if billionaire “Li [Ka Shing]’s businesses are…hiring (through recruitment exerciese in the University) some of the top graduates for its various China-based interests including hospitals, real estate, roads, and bridges.” The western companies have yet to come into this region as “the only notable…investments are the Kodak industrial film manufacturing plant [film is so out of style] and two competing dairy products manufacturers from Australia and New Zealand respectively.”

It’s interesting to delve further into the job search strategies for graudating students. 72% of Chao-san (Shantou-area) region students relied upon family members for job introductions. It’s a sizzling 76% of Management students that relied upon family members for job introductions. Students from other provinces rely heavily on employment fairs (82%) to find jobs.

So what is it about this region that fences in its residents? How does Shantou University educate graduates clearly going two seperate ways after they leave? Most of my students speak decent English but I wonder what path they will choose and if it coresponds to what part of China they’re from.

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