Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Although the number of college graduates getting jobs each year has gone up, CDT previously reported that many remain under or unemployed. Despite this problem, China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment to subsidize higher education costs for young people. While the aim is to build a more broadly educated public that rivals those in the West, critics are still unsure whether China will be successful. From The New York Times: To the extent that China succeeds, its educational leap forward could have profound implications in a globalized economy in which a growing share of goods and services is traded across international borders. Increasingly, college graduates all over the world compete for similar work, and the boom in higher education in China is starting to put pressure on employment opportunities for college graduates elsewhere — including in the United States. China’s current five-year plan, through 2015, focuses on seven national development priorities, many of them new industries that are in fashion among young college graduates in the West. They are alternative energy, energy efficiency, environmental protection, biotechnology, advanced information technologies, high-end equipment manufacturing and so-called new energy vehicles, like hybrid and all-electric cars. “If they went to China for brawn, now they are going to China for brains,” said Denis F. Simon, one of the best-known management consultants specializing in Chinese business. By quadrupling its output of college graduates in the past decade, China now produces eight million graduates a year from universities and community colleges. That is already far ahead of the United States in number — but not as a percentage. With only about one-fourth the number of China’s citizens, the United States each year produces three million college and junior college graduates. Aside from producing students to become part of the global workforce, Chinese state media is ...
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