Challenges For Young People at China’s NGOs

While many young Chinese students are taking an interest in the environment, once out in the competitive workforce, they are forced to work for private companies over non-government environmental organizations (NGO). NGO’s have grown in China over the last few years, but it isn’t getting any easier for young people to join the movement because of low pay, poor management, and limited career advancement. China Dialogue discusses the issue:

People are often unfamiliar with the NGO sector, and young staffers are often seen as having a low social status. At a recent meeting with the director of a local NGO and a group of Chinese and American students in the south China city of Nanjing, the questions from the US students centred on pollution and public policy. Many Chinese students, however, were more guarded. They questioned the role could play in Chinese society, and asked why anyone would work at an NGO, rather than a private company.

The rising cost of living and the threat of inflation have made this caution more acute. Many NGOs are supported by fixed-termed funding and are not financially self-sufficient. When it comes to cutting staff, young people are often the first to go, and finding a job in a different sector can be difficult. Prospective employers do not always value NGO sector experience.

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