There's A Good Reason Why Chinese College Graduates Are Applying To Be Street Cleaners

China, Beijing, Flag, Child

Photo: Yepoka Yeebo / Business Insider

A recent advertisement posted online by Harbin Human Resources and Social Security Bureau (HHRSSB) in China was looking for 457 sanitation worker positions — vehicle drivers, vehicle maintenance workers and street cleaners.However, many observers were somewhat surprised when the HHRSSB told the Global Times that a total of 7,186 recent graduates — including a number with master’s degrees and many with bachelor’s degrees — had applied for the “lowly” jobs.

While the Global Times reports that it is “a waste of human resources for college graduates to toil in sanitation”, the candidates may be making a somewhat rational decision; state jobs may still be some of the most attractive jobs in China, even if you have to start low.

Feng Jin, a professor with the Employment and Social Security Research centre at Fudan University, told the newspaper that the students were likely attracted by the stability of a government job, and were likely hoping to transfer into a different government department after getting the job.

“We need to bridge the income and benefits gap between private and State-owned enterprises and public service institutions to improve the labour market,” Feng told the Global Times.

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