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Young People Want a Career and Are Ready to Invest in it
Second Continental Student Survey in China
- In general, Chinese students look positively into the future
- Qualifications and next career steps are very important for the young people
- The young talents are ready to invest in their future
Students from China see their own future career prospects in a positive light. 69% view their prospects (very) confidently. Nevertheless, confidence in career prospects has declined slightly compared with 78% in 2011. These are the findings from the second "Continental Student Survey" in China. However, students provided a positive assessment of their own competitiveness by international comparison, with an interesting trend: 44% now assess their competitiveness as being (very) positive, up from 38% in 2011. In addition, male students have more confidence in their personal competitive advantage - 49% view this in a positive way, compared with only 38% of the female students sharing the same opinion. However, the survey also reveals an increase in lack of confidence: 35% view their own competitiveness not (at all) confidently, compared with 25% in 2011.
The second edition of the study conducted by the international automotive supplier, tire manufacturer and industry partner Continental on the expectations of Chinese students regarding the world of work, professions and careers, was presented in Shanghai on Wednesday. It was dedicated to the following key questions: What are the career ambitions of young people? What aspirations in terms of working conditions does the young generation have? What does work-life balance mean for students? For the representative survey, the Institute for Applied Social Sciences (infas) questioned 1,041 students majoring in engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, informatics and economic sciences.
In terms of career plans, earnings, potential benefits, advancement opportunities, and further training opportunities rank very highly on young people's lists when choosing an employer. Elke Strathmann, Continental Executive Board member and Director of Human Resources, confirmed that the young talents have a clear desire to succeed: "At the start of their career the students want to focus on their work and profession as well as training and qualification. This is a clear indicator that they are willing and eager to progress. They put work first and see how to balance it with family and friends - not the other way around." Nevertheless, the survey shows as well that 40% of the students stated that they would consider putting career ambitions aside for their family.
51% of the students see equal opportunities for men and women as being fulfilled in all areas of society. "Compared with the German results we can see an interesting difference," said Elke Strathmann. "In Germany, only 28% of the students see men and women possessing equal opportunities in all areas of society. At Continental we care about diversity topics and we especially know that they differ from market to market. We offer equal opportunities to all of our employees which are reflected in our China organization. In China we have a high number of women and different cultures in top management positions already. "
"I'm very glad that Continental has conducted the second student survey in China. Understanding the young generation's career preferences and future expectations towards their professional life is a very important step in order to not only prepare ourselves for our business growth tomorrow, but confirming that we are already well positioned with our offerings. With over 17,000 employees in China, we believe those employees are one of our most valuable assets in the market and will continue to play a vital role in our success in China," said Grace Hu, Vice President of Continental Human Resources China. "In this context we want to build an early and continuous dialogue with students. Continental has been partnering with educational institutions and has initiated various programs reaching out to students, such as regular Campus Talks, the yearly University Competition, our newly launched Summer Internship Program, and the "Meet the Manager" Program, a concept where we give 20 students the opportunity to experience the daily life of 20 managers across China for one day - another innovative program we offer to the young and eager-to-learn students."
"Global expansion is a key aspect of our corporate strategy. That's why we encourage our employees to work abroad and gain international experience, Expatriation is not a one-way road from West to East. If you visit our German headquarters you will find colleagues from all over the world," explained Elke Strathmann. A job abroad is attractive to students when it offers above-average pay (51%), good preparation and introduction to the culture (48%) and an interesting field of work (41%). The U.S. (74%), Germany (72%) and Switzerland (71%) are the work locations rated most highly by young people, whereas Russia and South America are lagging behind (39% for Russia and 26% for South America).
Compared with the results of the 2011 survey, agreement on the countries where students see the possibility of working abroad has risen. In 2011, 61% said they could imagine working in the U.S. and 44% were ready to go to Germany. "We can see that an international working environment (18%) and the possibilities of working abroad (11%) are important criteria when selecting a job. International experience is a key requirement for getting into the top management level of a global corporation," said Strathmann. "We view it as our task to create opportunities for working abroad that are beneficial to both sides."
67% of the respondents said that the effects on family and relationships are a reason for not working abroad. Also reservations about the country of employment could likewise be an obstacle (35%). "The challenge of the future lies in designing career paths and work conditions that can be adjusted to the different phases in life. This allows young people to make fast progress at the start of their career but also to slow down for example when they become parents or when they have to care for their own parents. It becomes a way of balancing employees' wishes with our company's requirements," said Grace Hu.
"Many post-90s university graduates are pouring into China's job market this year, and I think that the results of the second Continental Student Survey in China accurately reflect this group's perspectives and attitudes towards their career development. Indeed, the post-90s generation longs for recognition and acknowledgement, which is why they place strong emphasis on their career development and opportunities for advancement. Post-90s university students also prefer to work and live in dynamic and challenging environments," said Catherine Yu, a human resources management professional. "Continental China Student Survey 2013 is a crucial component of Continental's solid talent training system and demonstrates the Continental Corporation's commitment to becoming an employer of choice."
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