The newest graduates from China’s colleges and universities earn CNY4,000 (US$588) monthly on average, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports, more than six times less than their American peers.
Chinese grads in industries related to Internet application and development take home the highest starting salary (CNY5,600 or US$823), according to Beijing-based higher education research firm MyCOS’s annual report.
The wage is just enough to buy one unit of the cheapest iPhone 7 model with 32GB capacity, which retails at CNY5,388 (US$792). US fresh grads can afford four units of the same.
While China Daily reports university graduate earnings have gone up 20 percent from 2012, the starting salaries for Chinese fresh grads are still far behind countries like the US and Japan.
In US, the median starting salary for college graduates is around US$3,950 a month, according to a report by the non-profit National Association of Colleges and Employers. Whereas in Japan, it was around US$1,800 in 2015, according to data from Japan’s Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.
Those in China’s poorer areas fare worse. The starting salary at traditional heavy industrial northeast’s three provinces is reported to be CNY3,647 (US$537) per month.
But young workers in these areas report he figures in both affluent or otherwise areas may be even lower than the one reported.
Bai Lifei, a 26-year-old living in Gansu, one of the country’s poorest provinces, says the staring salaries where he works are between CNY1,800 and CNY2,500 a month.
“For those who have worked for several years, they earn CNY2,500 to CNY3,500,” he said.
Tang Jie, a Ningbo University graduate now working in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, said most of his classmates only make about CNY3,000 (US$441) a month, living paycheck to paycheck and with no savings by end of the month.
Nested’s Rental Affordability Index (2017) found the average monthly rental for a single person in China’s capital, Beijing, is US$785, which requires said person to sustain a US$32,466.55 annual income. This averages to about US$2,705.55 per month (based on Loughborough University Institutional Repository report, which purports no more than 29 percent of one’s gross salary should be spent on rent per month)
China’s current crop of fresh grads earns nearly four times less than the advised income they should be earning. The average rent in Beijing is US$197 more than their total average monthly income.