While an offer from a world renowned multinational company was considered a highly coveted opportunity in China 20 years ago, it seems to have lost its appeal to many born in the 1990s.
Huang Jiayu, 27, took the offer from a domestic private equity fund in Shanghai seven months ago. Whether the company is privately owned, State-owned or multinational was never his top priority.
“Most of the people of our age care more about whether we love the job or not,” he said.
Huang obtained his undergraduate degree in finance from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in business administration, also in the United States, from Boston College. Despite his long-time overseas experience, he gave up the thought to work at multinational companies due to the lengthy recruitment process. His purpose was quite clear: Get hired as soon as possible.
Moreover, the heavy workload and lack of advancement opportunities at multinationals — factors he has learned from his peers — prompted him to make the final choice.
“About 60 percent of my current colleagues used to work for multinational firms. Their reason for working at a local company is quite simple,” he said. “More money.”
Two decades ago, Huang said, it was considered quite a privilege to work at a multinational company, because hardly anyone in China could go overseas.
“But now, going abroad is quite easy since China has been integrated into the global economic system. More importantly, there are a large number of domestic companies such as Huawei Technologies and Alibaba which have become international,” he said.
According to a survey jointly released by the China Institute for Employment Research and domestic online recruitment platform Zhaopin in November last year, hiring demand by the privately owned enterprises reached its peak during the fourth quarter of 2017. But during the same period, foreign-owned companies showed the least interest in increasing their headcount, with their hiring demand smaller than the number of applications.
As recruitment experts from Zhaopin explained, this can be largely attributed to the uncertainties in the global economic environment and some multinational companies’ withdrawal from the Chinese market. On the other hand, most of the rapidly expanding Chinese Internet and technology companies are privately owned companies, which have shown greater demand for talent.
Experts from Zhaopin said the younger candidates born in the 1990s have grown up at a time when China has been undergoing rapid economic development and transformation. Their life standards have been significantly improved, which has given them a new understanding of life and work.
Previous generations understood jobs primarily as a source of income, but the post-90s generation now interprets them mainly as a way to improve life quality and realize their life’s value and mission.
Another Zhaopin survey, which polled some 15,786 people from the post-90s generation earlier last year, found that 64 percent were more willing to take jobs in smaller sized companies that offer a challenging and innovative environment, modern management systems and more competitive compensation packages.
However, there are still younger candidates aspiring for multinational companies.
An Bai, 23, completed her high school and undergraduate study overseas. Although she is working at a domestic wealth management company in Shanghai, An said she is quite willing to work for a multinational company if she has a chance. The only barrier holding her up is the lower payment at multinational companies, which is about 75 percent of her current salary.
An interned at a multinational company. Its working environment was quite an attraction, always reminding her of the academic life overseas. She can frequently use English at the company. But now An is concerned that her English proficiency will quickly decrease if she cannot practice often.
“To be more practical, one would enjoy some advantages while looking for new jobs if the person has working experience at a Fortune 500 company written in the resume,” she said.