Over 55% of China’s youth think hard work and diligence can improve prospects

The survey showed young people today are less likely to conform to traditional concepts by following a "timetable".


Students look for jobs at a career fair for graduates at Southeast University in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on April 16. [Photo by LIU LI/FOR CHINA DAILY]

May 8, 2023

BEIJING – Although they face the future with a certain degree of anxiety, more than 55 percent of Chinese young people believe that hard work and diligence can improve their prospects, according to a new survey.

Data for the Survey Report on the Social Mentality of Young Chinese Netizens (2022), which was published on Thursday, was abstracted from posts and comments by nearly 5,500 active young internet users on social media website Sina Weibo and video-sharing website Bilibili over the past two years. They came from different regions throughout the country and had different educational backgrounds.

Fudan Development Institute’s Center for Communication and State Governance Research, the Global Communication All Media Research Institute of Fudan University, the Bilibili Public Policy Research Institute and the Shanghai Information Security and Social Management Innovation Laboratory jointly released the report.

It said that many young people devote a great deal of effort toward improving their situation and they prefer not to put too much peer pressure on their counterparts, while they like to offer each other encouragement in their online comments.

Among the youths who clearly expressed anxiety in their social media posts, 77 percent of them said they were concerned about their studies and work, while 30 percent were anxious about their health and 18 percent expressed concerns about their appearance.

Those with a postgraduate education expressed a higher level of anxiety than those without, according to the survey.

Also, women experienced anxiety more often than their male counterparts, according to the survey.

As uncertainties rose in the job market due to the impact of the pandemic over the past three years, many young people expressed concerns about their future career prospects, even when employment was an issue that they would not have to consider for several years.

They hoped to make the right career choices in advance but lacked real experiences in the job market, which intensified their level of anxiety.

Bilibili data shows that videos about various work skills, guidance on writing an impressive resume, and sharing job interview experiences have become increasingly popular on the platform in recent years.

Apart from a small proportion of young people who expressed zero willingness to enter into relationships, most of them said they looked forward to love and intimacy. However, their willingness to get married was much lower than to start a relationship, and financial pressure was one of the main reasons for this, according to the survey.

The report said that young people today are less likely to wish to conform to traditional concepts by following a “timetable” in terms of finding a stable job, getting married and starting a family.

A 31-year-old media worker in Shanghai, who wanted to be only identified by her surname Hu, said that young people in her age group in big cities face huge pressure such as finding a job with a higher sense of accomplishment and better pay as they climb the career ladder.

“In the meantime, I’m afraid that a better job will scare some potential boyfriends away. This is a dilemma for me. Also, I found from my friends and colleagues that women shoulder higher pressure in terms of appearance compared to men,” she said.

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