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Job-hunting graduates prefer State-owned to foreign companies

More Chinese graduates prefer to work for a State-owned company than for a foreign-owned enterprise, according to a new survey.

The findings were based on surveys of 21,000 graduating college students across China by the human resources company

It is the first time in seven years that Chinese companies came out on top.

Foreign companies received a historically low vote of 23 percent, compared with 34.1 percent for State-owned businesses in the poll.

"Advantages such as more stable employment and better employee benefits at State-owned companies proved to be more attractive to college students, especially given the global economic slowdown," said Ouyang Hui, a human resources (HR) research supervisor at

"Foreign companies, joint ventures and private enterprises cut back staff or scaled down recruiting plans last year, while State-owned businesses endeavored to create job opportunities for graduates in accordance with official policy," Ouyang said.

Chen Jiang, a master's degree graduate of Peking University, the most prestigious in China, moved to a State-owned integrated circuit company this summer after originally being hired by a foreign company in the same line of business.

To his surprise, Chen said, a lot of his classmates who worked for well-known foreign companies asked him to keep an eye out for any opportunities for them.

US-based Procter & Gamble and Google are the only two foreign companies in the top 10, according to the poll.

China Mobile ranked first for the second time, while past favorites Microsoft and IBM ranked 11th and 12th, respectively.

Ouyang said the State-owned companies started to attract more recruits in 2007.

According to researchers, students were attracted most by fair human resources policies and opportunities for development and advancement when choosing a job.

Salary and benefits were the top factors in 2008. This year benefits ranked fourth, and salary ranked ninth.

"It is a good phenomenon if the investigations were conducted scientifically," said Mike Wang, HR manager of Morgan Stanley China.

"It means students could have more choices when selecting a job. But to us, it's less relevant," Wang said.

"As a leading foreign company in the field, we always pay attention to college students and try to provide them with the best career path. And we respect individual choices according to their own situations," he said.

To learn more about graduates' needs and preferences during campus recruitment periods, Morgan Stanley conducted its own survey in the first half of 2009 among students at Tsinghua, Peking, Fudan and Shanghai Jiaotong universities.

"We broadened our recruitment outreach based on the results, such as expanding our information channels through campus bulletin boards and other popular online forums posting job-hunting information, so that graduates would have a clear picture of what we can offer them," Wang said.

"To further contribute to the community and also enhance communications between graduates and Morgan Stanley, we have been sponsoring the Morgan Stanley Scholarship Program at leading universities in China since 2006," he added.

Yi Siting, 25, a master's graduate from Renmin University of China, chose Bank of China as her career starting point this spring, but denied the economic situation was her main consideration while job hunting.

"At State companies such as Bank of China, a lot of relaxation activities will be organized, which makes employees feel like part of a family. Large companies give me a sense of belonging and security," she said

Yi's close friend Tang Fang, from Peking University, said she prefers foreign companies to any other kind, saying they had more management expertise and a freer atmosphere.

But Yi disagreed.

"Actually, most State companies such as Bank of China always hire a lot of people from abroad, and it has a very open and modern management style," Yi said.

"Nowadays, the gap between State-owned companies and foreign ones in this respect has become narrower and narrower," she said.

As HR commissioner at a State-owned telecommunication company, Wu Yao was pleased with the poll results.

But he added that he didn't expect State-owned companies to prevail in the long term.

"As the distance between Chinese companies and foreign counterparts narrows, students will choose employers according to their own background, personal working style and interests, regardless of whether it is foreign or State-owned," Wu said.

"All companies have realized the importance of human resources," Wu added.


 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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