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What is life really like for a job-seeking graduate in China?

How are graduates dealing with China’s evolving corporate landscape? FDM consultants share their experiences.

As China makes the transition from a labour-intensive to an innovation-based economy, they understand the need to work smarter, not harder, to compete in world markets.

Indeed, at the 2017 National Congress PRC president Xi Jinping declared that China should “prioritise innovation” in “cutting-edge… and disruptive technologies.”

Technology companies have become a key driver of China's economy, and now account for some of the country's biggest names. Ten years ago, there was only one tech company in China’s Top 20, placed at #11. Today that company is #1 and joined by six others. Globally, although the USA still dominates, China has come in at number 5 in Forbes’ list of the World's Largest Tech Companies In 2022.

It seemed that China was emerging as an innovation powerhouse where its tech hubs were closing the gap with its US, European and Japanese counterparts. The 2021 annual Bloomberg Innovation Index revealed that, since 2013, the US dropped out of the top 10 and China elevated to the top 20 countries, with the gap continuing to narrow.

A climate change for Chinese technology

However, despite peaking during the pandemic, some IT industry giants are trading lower than 3 years ago. Consequently, companies operating in the tech sector, and those looking to work in it, are viewing the future with a mixture of uncertainty and guarded optimism.

These are challenging times for China’s tech companies, with many start-ups taking drastic steps to survive, let alone thrive. This, in turn, has created pressure on the country’s workforce, with fierce competition among job seekers for limited and demanding roles.

FDM helps offer graduates an alternative

Along with trying to gain an advantage over heavy competition, job-seeking graduates in China’s tech industry today also have practical concerns like work-life balance, gender equality and job security. FDM has built relationships with multinational companies operating in China who can offer a real alternative, from realistic hours to an inclusive culture.  

But what is it really like in the current work environment? And how well has FDM addressed the difficulties? We thought the best way to find out is to hear from those who are actually experiencing it.

We asked FDM Consultants currently placed in China to complete a survey and give us their candid answers.   

Around 80% responded, first sharing their views of the job marketplace on general:

  • 50% placed a high priority on work/life balance in their career journey
  • Career progression was a less important part in their choice of workplace at around 30%
  • They mostly thought there was low to middling gender discrimination for job seekers
  • Around 40% found it difficult to obtain interviews with desired companies
  • And a similar proportion said salary was only a moderate motivating factor

Not too surprisingly, few were willing to consider a company with a 996-working principle, with some young people opting out of the high-pressure rat race entirely. The tang ping or 'lie flat' movement has recently taken off, as people seek roles that allow more time to do what they enjoy.

Based on their experiences with FDM clients in China, our consultants shared:

  • 75% said they were working between 35 & 45 hours a week
  • About 90% felt their efforts in the workplace were appreciated from moderately to quite a lot
  • 70% said the same range applied to how well FDM or their clients provide work/life balance

When asked about FDM specifically, their views included:

  • Over 85% were very satisfied with the FDM Graduate Programme
  • The majority felt FDM had a high commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Their sense of job security working with FDM also mostly rated high
  • About 85% said they would recommend FDM

It is always rewarding to receive so much positive feedback, particularly in areas we are passionate about like job security, and diversity and inclusion. The overall outcome of the survey reinforces the importance of regularly checking in and strengthens our resolve to constantly enhance our consultants’ experiences.

Individual consultant experiences

“One of the reasons I chose FDM is that I can use my time after work to upskill myself and make more plans. Because there is not much overtime in multinational companies, I can spend more time in exploring my career possibilities, which will be a booster for my future development. Also, we can work from home 2-3 days a week which to me is a great benefit.”

– Jaipei Xue, FDM Consultant

“Though I sometimes need to work overtime for meetings with the North American team, our working hours arrangement is very flexible. The company allows us to work from home so that we don't spend too much time commuting. They also emphasise work-life balance and hold many interesting team-building activities planned around employees' interests.”

– Michael Huang, FDM Consultant

Committed to Your Success

If you have the passion and drive, we can give you the tools, skills and opportunity to kickstart a dream career in tech with one or more of our client partner companies – many in the Top 500.

Our fully funded, award-winning training gets you job ready in 8-14 weeks. But we are also partners in your success, providing guidance and support every step of your career journey.

When you complete the FDM Graduate Programme you will have some very impressive big brands and 2 years’ work experience on CV – your tech career is off to a flying start!  

Putting people first - FDM’s response to Covid-19

The FDM Group has fulfilled CEO Rod Flavell’s promise at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 that nobody working for FDM would lose their job because of Covid-19.

We operate under rigorous guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone in our community. All recruitment, assessment and training is carried out remotely. And we follow all government guidelines for client placements for maximum security of out consultants.

Learn more about the FDM Graduate Programme here

About Preeta Ghoshal

Preeta is a content writer with over 10 years’ experience across print, digital and broadcast media. She has worked extensively in multi-media content creation. Her work reflects a mix of subject matter research and storytelling to produce content that is both informative and easily digestible. She is presently providing content support to each of the FDM programmes and the wider marketing team.


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