Houston Community News >> China Faces Talent Gap

2/22/2007-- The world’s most populous country doesn't lack for young university graduates. What it does lack are young people who have the talent and skills necessary to land a job.

This troubling development was confirmed in a recent survey issued by the China Youth & Children Research Center, an affiliate agency of the China Communist Party. The study shows that young college graduates have suffered from declining rates of employment from 2003 to 2005. The number of college graduates entering the job market experienced double-digit growth during the period.

Chinese universities turned out a growing number of college graduates between 2003 and 2005 -- at 750,000, 990,000 and 1.2 million, respectively. But their chances of finding employment have declined consistently during these three years, the survey said, without specifying why.

The disconnect between the supply of young professionals and real-life job opportunities is due in no small part to China’s memorization-focused educational system that fails to equip first-time job seekers with skills in creative writing, thinking and leadership.

“Making the talent search more difficult is the fact that the more experienced managers are in short supply and command high salaries,” said Judith Banister, a Beijing-based program director for the US Conference Board’s Asia-Pacific Council on Talent, leadership Development and Organizational Effectiveness, “For multinationals, it is now a challenge not only to recruit the best people, but also todevelop and retain them.”

The Conference Board, in a statement issued a day earlier, said the number of Chinese people in their 20s and 30s is shrinking overall, in spite of the increased number of new college graduates and the expanding pool of people aged over 40, mainly those who have lost their high education to the tumultuous years of China’s Cultural Revolution.

This classic phenomenon of a rapidly-aging society has been a byproduct of China’s long-standing one-child policy. An unintended consequence of it has been high corporate turnover in China, promoting multinationals such as Intel (nasdaq: INTC - news - people ) to cultivate their own talents through programs with local Chinese universities.

The frustration on the employment front has encouraged young people in China to seek political affiliation as a means to find job placement. Each year, 800,000 people join the country’s powerful China Communist Youth League, the power base of China’s President, Hu Jintao.

(Contributed by Forbes)