Coronavirus: What it’s like to graduate in the middle of a pandemic

Ep.6/Jul 28, 2020

More than eight million Chinese students are preparing to enter the worst job market in decades. What’s it like to graduate in the middle of a pandemic? We followed two recent grads on their job search.

As the coronavirus continues to take its toll around the world, the class of 2020 is entering the toughest job market in recent memory. Companies are laying off workers. Some are considering hiring freezes.

For China’s more than eight million undergraduates, who came of age during the country’s economic boom times, the prospect of being unemployed straight out of school is especially stark. One economist estimates about a quarter of them may be jobless this year.

(Read more: What it’s like to volunteer on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic)

The pandemic has already cost tens of millions of jobs. Unemployment in cities rose to a record high of 6.2% in February, according to official statistics. The figure could be higher because it does not include the floating population of migrant workers from rural areas.

One study by Peking University in Beijing found that the number of open positions shrank by 27% in the first three months of this year compared to last year. The study tracked posts on the popular Chinese job recruitment site Zhaopin.

As companies scale back hiring, what are the prospects for the class of 2020? We followed two recent graduates on their job search. Watch the video above.

CoronavirusWhat’s It Like
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Producer: Gavin Huang

Videographers: Frentee Ji and Shanshan Kao

Editor: Joel Roche