The government will offer tax incentives and loans to college graduates who start businesses to serve the rural community, the statement added. Similar benefits will be offered to existing small businesses in villages that hire college graduates, including in fields such as housekeeping and elderly care.
Typically, college graduates in China prefer to work for well-paying companies in major cities, and there is a significant income gap between rural and urban areas. But this is not the first time in recent years that the government has urged them to seek employment in the nation’s vast but less developed countryside.
In July 2020, when the initial coronavirus outbreak hit the Chinese economy, authorities encouraged college graduates to move to rural areas, rather than clustering in cities and fighting for limited job opportunities.
But, this year, students are running out of options.
Chinese college graduates are facing the toughest graduation season as a record 10.76 million are set to finish college in the next two months.
The urban unemployment rate for the 16-24 aged soared to a historic 18.2% in May, according to most recent government statistics. The figure did not factor in new college graduates for this year.
China only surveys employment in urban areas.
College entrance exams ‘insanely’ difficult
As the employment situation deteriorates, getting into a college is becoming even harder in China.
A record number of 11.93 million students took the country’s grueling college entrance examination last week. These students are competing to get in to the country’s top universities, often under enormous pressure from their parents and families.
This year, students have taken to social media to complain about how exceptionally difficult the exam was, and related topics have been trending on Weibo since the weekend.