Why sinkies are going to lose more jobs and be replaced
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China's Ant tribe
A million frustrated graduates swarm squalid colonies, posing a social quandary
By Sim Chi Yin, China Correspondent
The problem of graduate unemployment and under-employment has been growing since 2003, when a record number of students graduated four years after China had raised higher-education enrolment by a massive 48 per cent.
In Tangjialing village north of Beijing, an 'ant colony' has sprung up where 50,000 graduates huddle in narrow, seedy streets. The locals earn extra cash by feeding them. -- ST PHOTOS: SIM CHI YIN
BEIJING - THEY are smart, industrious and marginalised, huddling together for comfort. Hordes of China's underemployed or underpaid university graduates have formed squalid enclaves on the fringes of the country's big cities, earning themselves the label yi zu or 'ant tribe'. As their ranks swell, some observers have warned of the dangers that a mass of young and frustrated people - doing jobs they are overqualified for - might pose to social stability. Last month, several delegates at Beijing's annual parliamentary session urged the government to build better housing for these graduates and to do more to help them find jobs. There are a million 'ants' massed around major cities, with about 100,000 in Beijing alone, estimates sociologist Lian Si, who led a two-year study that was published in a book last September. A typical 'ant' hails from rural China, is a graduate of a non-brand-name university aged between 22 and 29, and earns no more than 2,000 yuan (S$414) a month working long hours as an insurance salesman, computer technician or waiter.
Read the special report in Saturday's edition of The Straits Times. [email protected]
MANAMA (Bahrain) - THE Government's recent moves to slow the influx of foreigners do not mark a 'sudden turnaround' in policy, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday. Rather, it is simply a recognition that the country is nearing what it can accommodate. While foreign worker numbers may still rise, it will now grow more slowly. Speaking to Singapore reporters in Bahrain at the end of a six-day visit to the Middle East, SM Goh explained that Singapore needed to be open to foreign workers in the past to fuel its rapid growth.
'If you look at the last decade, we wanted to grow fast. And there were opportunities to grow fast. Employers were crying for workers. We were trying to tighten the dependency on foreign workers, but the demand for goods and services from Singapore was high, so we liberalised. Then once we reach the limit, you've got to tighten,' he said.
The Government, he said, constantly monitors its policies and tweaks them where needed. 'Past models which have worked may not work in the future, so we've got to constantly monitor, adjust when necessary, sometimes even discard. But in our case it's modifying the model, not discarding the old model,' he said.
Re: Why sinkies are going to lose more jobs and be replaced
Expat workers threaten Gulf existence
DUBAI - An influx of foreign workers in the Gulf poses a threat to the region’s existence, UAE daily Gulf News reported on Wednesday, citing Bahrain’s Labour Minister Majeed al-Alawi.
The minister said the situation could become like Singapore and the Maldives, where “foreign workers had been brought on temporary contracts and are now ruling these countries,” according to the report.
Speaking at a labour conference in Abu Dhabi, Alawi said one million citizens in the wealthy Gulf are unemployed even though the region employs 17 million foreign workers, describing them as “a threat to our existence”, Gulf News reported.
Alawi pointed out that while 50 percent of projects in the Gulf have have come to a halt due to the impact of the global recession, the number of foreign workers has not declined.
“Whoever thinks this foreign manpower in the region comes for a project and leaves on its completion is wrong. They come to stay. They buy and sell in their market created on our lands but accommodate no Arab,” he said.” he was quoted as saying.
Alawi added: “This way countries were lost and we, in the Gulf, are facing the same threat. If this is not happening now, it will happen in the next generation.”
Officials in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have for years expressed concerns over the presence of millions of expat workers who are needed to run their economies.
Still these countries continue to hire skilled and unskilled people from abroad to do jobs their citizens either cannot do or do not want to do. – Maktoob Business Review
Re: Why sinkies are going to lose more jobs and be replaced
"with about 100,000 in Beijing alone, estimates sociologist Lian Si........is a graduate of a non-brand-name university aged between 22 and 29, and earns no more than 2,000 yuan (S$414) a month working long hours ...."
WOW! This is the opportunity for Singapore to grow in just 1 to 2 years ...shot cut to success!
Just recruit and "import" all these 100,000 young graduates from Beijing under the migration program.
In this way, the Chinese government will thank Singapore for helping them in ther unemployment problem and thus preventing a huge social unrest. and Singapore can gain a whole generation of hungry and highly educated all the way from BEJING, where the best Chinese is spoken.
This is hitting two birds with one stone.
PAP do it, set up a office in Bejing and Shangai to "import" some 250,000 of those young university graduates to Singapore. They will produce highly smart kids and don't worry, since they are young, they should be quite healthy generally, so Singapore do not need to worry about health care for them.
Don't waste this opportunity because when the China economy picks up Singapore will not have so easy way to recruit such large amount of university graduates.
SIX years after moving into a maze of bunkhouses on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Yu Ping still frowns as she heads home along the muddy lanes lined with grocery stores, web cafes and hair salons.
The security devices saleswoman is one of the thousands of young university graduates - known as the "ants" - scraping by on meagre salaries from unstable jobs as they try to take advantage of China's economic miracle."I'm planning to move - I've had enough of living here," said the 27-year-old Yu, who lives in a tiny 10-sq metre flat in Tangjialing village, with her husband, a computer hardware salesman. The apartment is so small that the couple cannot have a proper wardrobe, in fact they use their only chair as a makeshift dresser.
Yu however admits the cheap rent of 550 Yuan (S$113) a month makes the hardship worth it, saying a flat in the city centre would be "extravagant", given the couple's combined earnings of just 4,400 yuan a month. University graduates in China were once dubbed "the favoured children of heaven".
This was because they had good jobs from the government upon graduation, and housing was one of the many perks offered to them. But the country's three decades of economic reform have made such privileges a thing of the past. Many job seekers are forced into a fierce battle for decent jobs and an unenviable life in the cramped suburbs.
China had more than six million new university graduates last year, but only 87% of them found jobs, while nearly 800,000 are yet to be employed. Beijing alone has more than 100,000 "ants", and other mega-cities such as Xiamen, Shanghai, Guangzhou in the south have similar worker armies, according to a book Ants Tribe, based on two years of surveys among the huge workforce.
"They have high aims and expectations," said Lian Si, the book's lead author and an associate professor at Beijing's University of International Business and Economics. "They put up with the poor conditions in these villages in order to strive for their goals and future," he said. Software engineer Huang Guolong is an ant colony survivor.
After 18 months in Tangjialing, he recently landed a three-year contract with a new company. He had a 50% boost in salary and earns up top to 4,500 yuan, now. "I'm here to build an economic foundation, gain work experience and be more capable," said the 26-year-old from the central province of Hubei, who says he aims to eventually become a manager at a first-rate IT company.
"I'm moving closer towards my goals." Not all graduates are as lucky as Huang. A survey done in early 2009 by Lian and his team on 500 Beijing "ants", found that about one-third of them had no formal employment contracts, with many changing jobs twice a year. Their average monthly salary stood at just 2,150 yuan - little more than half of the capital's average at the time.
Some experts say university programmes are outdated and too similar, creating a glut of graduates in certain fields whose job prospects are dim. "Some courses are rather old and can no longer meet the needs of the current social development," said Hu Shoujun, a sociology professor at Fudan University in Shanghai.
"Too many universities are offering similar courses, causing a relative oversupply of graduates in certain majors," he said. Back in Tangjialing, Yu said her situation was precarious - while she took home sales bonuses on rare occasions which could be as much as 20,000 yuan, some months were not good for the couple. "We will not stay in Beijing forever and will go home sooner or later," she said. Yu, from the northern Hebei province hopes to open a clothing shop in her hometown of Cangzhou.
The trouble with these PRCs is that they are too impatient and want to get rich real fast and don't want to be left behind while the going is still good. Most of them will work for a while in a decent not so well paid job and once they think they have learnt something, they want to quit and start their own business. MNCs, Taiwanese and Singapore companies need more middle managers to run their production lines and supply chains, but these Chinese grads have no aptitude or experience for these jobs. Also, they are also not trusted enough as they have a bad reputation for stealing design and trade secrets and setting up outside shops to copy and make a quick buck. Companies prefer to recruit Singaporeans because they are not known for their entrepreneurial nature, so a safe bet - not really a complimentary remark but nevertheless a backhanded one. So this is one area where Singaporeans can still find a niche, but they have to be able to negotiate for the best employment deal.