Gen Y new grads in China sure aren’t lazy and self-entitled


I saw this photograph today on the BBC News website (taken from ‘Day in Pictures’ which is an awesome way to take 3 minutes off work and catch up on some of the more obscure goings on in the big wide world).

Workers in China

Security guards try to hold back crowds at a jobs fair in Henan province, China, where students are finding it increasingly hard to find employment.

There are several reasons why I was drawn to this. My first impression was (of course) ‘oh, this nasty global recession!!!’.  Secondly ‘Hey, these look like Gen Yers – but Gen Yers are ‘lazy and self-entitled’ why on earth are these people betraying our generation by scrambling for a job?!’.  Thirdly, being from the British Isles I have a rather unusual fondness of the ‘queue’ and so naturally – ‘are these people really scrambling over each other for work or it is that they haven’t been taught the art of queuing?’

So why are students in China, particularly the Henan province, finding it increasingly hard to find employment?

Since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998-1999, China’s economic and education policy development has led to acceleration in the pace of enrolments in higher education institutions. To stimulate economic recovery the State was actually encouraged to increase the number of students and intensify commodification of education. 10 years down the line and China, who has continued year on year with an intense increase in the number of people graduating from University, has landed themselves, along with the rest of the world in another economic downturn.  They are now in the position of having too many graduates and not enough ‘meaningful’ roles.

About the author

Lauren Friese is the founder of She graduated from Queen's University in 2005 with a degree in economics and had no idea how to make a successful transition into the workforce. She ended up at the LSE in London, England, and after earning an MSc in economic history, used – a British graduate recruitment website – to find a great entry-level role in consulting in London. She thought Milkround was fantastic, and that it was a service sorely lacking in Canada. And so the idea for TalentEgg was hatched!