This articleFrom WeChat public account: China Business Journal (ID: chinabusinessjournal), text: Chen Yuqi; editor: Huang Yulu; proofreading: Yan Jingning ; The title picture comes from Visual China

Today, the 2021 National Civil Service Examination officially opened. This year’s national exam, the number of applicants who passed the qualification review reached 1.576 million, setting a record for the second highest in history.

Yaqing is one of the millions of national exam candidates. When she graduated from undergraduate two years ago, she actually resisted going to the civil service examination. “I think there is nothing good about civil servants, (earned) and little money.”

But after finishing her postgraduate studies in South Korea and working in two private companies, she felt that the civil servants were better. She majored in food and nutrition, and she had to follow the experiment in her daily life. “The experiment needs you, you have to be there, and there are no rules in life. Although the conditions provided by the company are good, it is very tired and oppressive.”

According to the “2020 Returnees’ Employment Ability Survey Report” released by the online vocational education website UniCareer, the number of returnees seeking employment will increase by 70% this year to 800,000. Under the influence of the epidemic, it is even more difficult for overseas returnees to find jobs. They have to attack a limited number of jobs together with nearly 9 million domestic fresh graduates.

In traditional cognition, international students are the “darlings” of foreign and private companies. However, in recent years, more and more returnees want to work within the system, including state-owned enterprises, public institutions, civil servants, etc., and there are even students who graduated from prestigious schools such as Ivy League. In August of this year, the news that a postdoctoral fellow in physics at Harvard University was serving as deputy director of the Subdistrict Office sparked heated discussion.

According to the Ipsos “2020 Study Abroad Trends Report”, in the survey sample, nearly half of the international students entered the system after returning to China, 21% of which worked in state agencies/institutions, and 25% worked in state-owned enterprises.

Source: Ipsos “2020 Overseas Study Trend Report”

Is it really easy in the international student selection system?

A lot of money, stability, and accountability

Works within the system have long since shaken off the impression of “low pay” in the past, especially in economically developed areas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2019, the national average annual salary of non-private employees in urban non-private units was 90,501 yuan, a real increase of 6.8% after deducting price factors; the average annual salary of employees in urban private units was 53,604 yuan, a real increase of 5.2%.

In recent years, favorable remuneration has made basic-level civil servants in economically developed areas such as Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang “sweet and delicious.” On November 20, 2020, the deadline for the recruitment of civil servants for the Shenzhen Municipal Service “Double District” construction project in 2020, the final registration was 155,453, the highest competition ratio was 1269:1, and the average competition ratio was 154:1.

Even if we only consider high-paying industries such as finance and the Internet, the wage gap between inside and outside the system is shrinking. If the working hours of “996” are taken into account, the “high salary” will be greatly reduced.

Shi Yue, the person in charge of the 2020 Overseas Study Trends Report, pointed out that economic management students account for a relatively high proportion of international students, and their skills are not as strong as those of science and engineering. “When they choose employment, they generally enter a job that is a bit like a “big gold”.” Therefore, when the salary levels inside and outside the system are not very different, they will tend to choose a relatively stable job.

Source: Ipsos “2020 Study Abroad Trends Report”

Shiyue believes that, on the other hand, with the development of the economy, families who can afford to study abroad are generally not particularly embarrassed in terms of economic conditions. Therefore, the attractiveness of salaries may not be a decisive factor in the career selection process of international students.

This year, Yaqing followed the advice of her parents to sign up for the national exam. The most important reason is to want a stable and regular life.

“Escape from 996” has become an important consideration for “new overseas returnees” in choosing a job.

Arvin, who graduated with a master’s degree in law from a prestigious Ivy League school this year, regards normal working hours and “not overdrawing his body” as his second major considerations when looking for a job, ranking first is the meaning of work And a sense of accomplishment. He enters a certain ministry through an open recruitment for overseas students. He goes to work at 8:30 and leaves at 5 every day, with a two-hour lunch break.

“70 to 80%” of the foreign students with the same major around Arvin go to private companies, mostly law firms. “I was eating with a friend the other day. He worked in a red circle (referring to 8 top Chinese law firms). He has not worked for 14 consecutive days. I have a rest. I have to rush back to the work unit when I come out for a meal at noon on Saturday, and I have to be scolded later. Why is this kind of life necessary?”

The ability to help first-tier cities settle down is another important reason why international students prefer to work within the system.

According to the “2020 Returnees Spring Recruitment Trend Report”, more than half of the 2020 returnees expect to develop in the four first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. To take root in first-tier cities, work within the system has an absolute advantage in solving the problem of settlement.

Source: “2020 Returnees Spring Recruitment Trend Report”

Arvin believes that non-economic benefits such as settlement, smooth promotion channels, and good career prospects are more important than simply high wages.

For international students to take public examinations, job selection is the biggest difficulty

However, it is not easy to enter the system as an international student, especially the civil service. Yaqing even believes that international students applying for civil service examinations “only have disadvantages but no advantages.”

Job selection is the first hurdle for international students to apply for civil service examinations.

For international students to apply for civil servants, state-owned enterprises and public institutions, they need to obtain a foreign education certificate through the Overseas Education Service Center of the Ministry of Education. (international) When applying for civil servants, it is required that the majors on the qualification certificates of applicants should strictly correspond to the majors required in the job list. However, in actual operation, the two often fail to correspond word by word, which increases the difficulty for international students to apply for civil service examinations.

Mavericks who returned to China after studying for a master’s degree in the UK, her professional name is “company law”, but in China, company law is a branch of civil and commercial law. When applying for the exam, she could not choose the more subdivided “civil and commercial law” or “economic law”, but could only choose positions with major requirements of “law”. The expansion of the scope of application means more intense competition.

In addition, some of the positions recruiting law graduates belong to the customs, anti-smuggling, border inspection and other departments. These positions generally require “no more than six months of non-public overseas study experience.” After excluding these positions, the Mavericks can report only two positions. “The threshold is very low and the competition is high.”

For some majors that have few choices in civil service examinations, the status of international students makes this path narrower.

Yaqing is from Hubei, and her desire to be close to home is an important reason for her examination of civil servants. She first applied for the Hubei Provincial Examination, but because of the different professional names, she failed the examination. Her professional name is “Food Nutrition”, and the similar domestic professional name is “Food Science and Nutrition Engineering”.

After getting the job list for the National Examination, Yaqing discovered that “there is no job in Hubei.” In the end, she could only apply for a job in Guangzhou.

Different units will have different requirements.