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With the quick development of second and third-tier cities, more and more jobs are emerging in urban areas. This provides students with a wider choice of work locations.
Despite this, fresh graduates still tend to flood toward China’s metropolises, rather than residing in smaller places.
According to a recent survey of 32,000 university graduates conducted by ChinaHR.com, 63 percent of respondents said they wanted to stay in first-tier cities for at least a year after graduation this year. Last year, that figure was only 38 percent.
“The hustle and bustle of a large metropolis seems to transfer its energy to residents. A big city has more work opportunities than a small city or town,” said Zhang Tingwen, a HR expert at ChinaHR.com.
“It may have a more varied workforce with different skills and it means that it is easier for graduates to find suitable jobs with a decent salary.”
A big city means there is a more diverse range of job opportunities, including working for major foreign companies. Competition might be fierce, but it is also fairer and open to everyone.
Chen Ximing, 26, works as senior legal counsel at Canon (China) Co Ltd Shanghai Branch. “When I finished my studies at the Law school of Fudan University, I considered going back to my hometown, Lanzhou, to work as a lawyer,” she said.
“But I discovered relationships and social networking were required to launch a career there as a lawyer”, Chen said.
Chen thought this was not the type of lifestyle she wished to pursue. “In contrast, in Shanghai, social networking is not so influential in getting hired or promoted. An employer emphasizes your ability,” she explained.
Some graduates want to continue improving themselves after leaving campus and first-tier cities better serve this purpose.
“It is easy for me to find a qualified English training center in Shenzhen,” said Yang Zhenqi, 22, who graduated from Sun Yat-sen University last year and works for an electronics company in Shenzhen.
Likewise, living in a big city such as Beijing or Shanghai offers students enriching cultural or sports events, and further benefits associated with big cities.
Zhang Sheng, 26, is fond of classical concerts and soccer matches. “Major cities like Beijing have several mainstream theaters, plus a number of off-the-beaten-path theater groups. You can watch operas, ballets, other dance performances and symphonies here,” he said.
“In addition, there are sporting events. Professional teams like Manchester United come to play, and you can watch NBA China matches too,” said Zhang.
First-tier cities also provide increased opportunities for meeting a larger bunch of people sharing your interests.
Lin Guichuan, 25, has joined a group watching French movies every weekend and another that enjoys Beijing’s delicious food.
“It is hard to find such self-organized interest groups in my hometown of Liuzhou, Guangxi, where the most popular pastimes are karaoke and mahjong,” said Lin.
However, living in a large city is expensive and crowded. You may encounter vast crowds of people when you go shopping, or long queues at hospitals. Pressure in large cities is very high, too.