A latest survey shows that average monthly salary for fresh graduates in 2021 was 5,833 yuan ($845) and only 6.1 percent earned a starting salary of more than 10,000 yuan per month. Jobs without high pays but with decency and more leisure hours are popular among the contemporary young professionals who treasure work-life balance.
According to the analysis on the income distribution of college graduates conducted by the MyCOS, an education consulting and research institute in Beijing, the average monthly salary for fresh graduates with bachelors’ degrees was 5,833 yuan within the year after they graduated in 2021, a record high over the past decade.
Statistics show that 38.4 percent of graduates had a starting salary of between 4,000 yuan and 6,000 yuan, 23.7 percent with 6,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan and only 6.1 percent was able to earn more than 10,000 yuan per month, still an extremely small group despite higher than the proportion of 4.3 percent in 2020.
Even in some industries that are generally associated with high wages, it was still difficult for fresh graduates to get paid over 10,000 yuan per month, but between 6,000 yuan and 7,000 yuan, which lagged far behind fresh graduates’ ideal salary expectations. A survey conducted among 2,700 college students across the country by China Youth Daily showed that 20 percent of college graduates thought they could earn more than 10,000 yuan as soon as they graduated.
The industries where fresh graduates in 2021 with higher pays include information transmission, software and information technology services with an average monthly salary of 6,781 yuan, and 6,508 yuan for the electronic and electrical equipment manufacturing industry. Besides, the average salary in the transportation industry was 6,351 yuan and 6,100 yuan for the finance industry.
In those highly paid industries such as information transmission, software and information technology services, college graduates’ average monthly salaries can rise to over 10,000 yuan three years after they graduated.
College students’ average salary levels are affected by multiple factors such as the development of the industries, the supply and demand of labor force and regional economic development levels.
Statistics show that a monthly salary of 7,332 yuan for fresh graduates with bachelors’ degrees working in first-tier cities can rise to an average of 11,281 yuan per month three years after they graduate.
It is noteworthy that fresh graduates work in public organs such as public security bureaus, procuratorates and people’s courts, work as legal professionals, medical personnel and researchers have higher satisfaction toward their employment despite not earning as much as those working in highly paid industries. This shows that despite job-hunters paying much attention to salaries in job-hunting, jobs without high salary but with decency and more leisure hours have become more popular to them.
Separately, the overall salary levels on the job market over the past four weeks after the Chinese New Year holidays in 2023 stabilized at over 10,000 yuan per month, with the amount of the fourth week standing at 10,043 yuan, according to a latest weekly report by Chinese job hunting platform Zhilian Zhaopin.
According to the 2023 data, chip engineer and artificial intelligence (AI) engineer have been ranking the top two highly paid occupations for four weeks in a row after the Spring Festival holidays with the salaries going up week-on-week. The salaries of the two occupations reached as high as 28,422 for chip engineer and 25,148 for AI engineer in the fourth week.
Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province and Hangzhou in East China’s Zhejiang Province are among the top four cities in terms of salaries. Shanghai ranked the first on the list with an average monthly salary of 13,431 yuan.
Among the top 10 cities, five cities are located in the Yangtze River Delta, four from the Pearl River Delta and one from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which indicated that the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta remain the high ground for job-seekers to realize their value in the workplace.