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First degree weights more than master's on job market
Latest Updated by 2006-03-23 15:01:15

Some Chinese graduates holding master degrees find themselves in embarrassing situations in the increasingly competitive job market, according to a Chinese newspaper.

The China Youth Daily has reported Tuesday (Mar 21) that postgraduates holding first degrees from non-key universities in the country would be at a disadvantage when competing for jobs.

A postgraduate medical science student named Wang Peng thought he had an employment opportunity with a top grade hospital in Beijing, but was later denied the contract on the grounds that his primary degree was not from a key university. Another candidate with a primary degree from a key university has landed the job at the same hospital, the newspaper said.

Wang is very disappointed over the situation, but he is not alone.

A young woman named Li Li has been confronted with a similar dilemma at various job fairs, as potential employers say her first primary degree was not earned from a four-year institution but through a self-taught program, even though she later earned a master's degree.

Li wonders if her postgraduate academic efforts have been worth her time and money.

Similar cases have often been reported in the Chinese media this year. People with a primary degree from a non-key university are often considered losers, according to the China Youth Daily. Employers have raised standards as the numbers of postgraduates has grown due to the big increase in recruitment over the past few years.

It is reported that there will be 269,000 postgraduate students in China this year, not including graduates on two-year postgraduate programs.

Potential employers, like higher learning and research institutions, give some weight to undergraduate majors and primary-degree universities when selecting candidates.

A staff member at a university in east China's Jiangsu Province says many college students spend lots of time studying postgraduate examination reference books during their four years. These students end up with limited academic competence, especially in interdisciplinary subjects, and are not well prepared for further academic study. The postgraduate level sometimes becomes similar what undergraduate studies should be. For these reasons, employers, like universities and colleges, focus on the prospective candidate's primary degrees.

A human resources evaluation expert from Beisen Talents, Xie Wei, says employers screen out disadvantaged candidates during the first rounds rather than simply selecting the best candidates. So the primary degree often becomes the focal point in the selection process.

Xie also explains that employers tend to look for candidates' disadvantages and shortcomings before further consideration. During this stage, if a candidate has a non-competitive primary degree, their chance of getting hired becomes slim.

Another staff member from the personnel department of a university anonymously says he thinks too many postgraduates have come to the university to seek jobs. More than 20 postgraduates from the prestigious Fudan University are on the list. So the school will have to be selective about the primary degree, arguing that quality of graduates from key universities and colleges are generally better than others. Postgraduates with a quality primary degree are thought to be more competent.

The emphasis on primary degree in the job market has begun to affect postgraduate candidates from non-key universities and colleges in the country.
A man from a local normal university in Shandong Province named Zheng Wuxiang is concerned about the practice of some employers. Zheng complains that such discrimination is very unfair.

Zheng says many undergraduate students want to further their studies at a postgraduate level for better employment prospects in the future. But the current situation is not so promising.

Some experts are concerned about such practices, saying that too much focus on degrees or primary degrees shows too much focus on academics rather than competence, and this is not an effective way of fostering talent in the country.

Luo Lin from the China Youth League Talent Project, comments that people with degrees from non-key universities and colleges are not at a disadvantage in terms of learning ability and professional competence. Many successful people do not have good primary degrees, but they have achieved great success in the end, through their own efforts.

Editor: Wing

By: Source:CRI web edition
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