A recent questionnaire by Peking University indicates that starting salaries for new college graduates this year are an average of 2,400 yuan ($400) per month—and as nearly 40 percent of college graduates have no savings, they rely on their parents for financial support, and accommodation.
Wu Di, 24, found an excellent job on finance in downtown Beijing this summer, according to a report by People’s Daily, the official newspaper, yet he still struggles to make ends meet.
Given that Wu is still an intern, his current salary is 3,500 yuan ($570) after tax and insurance—about 60 percent of a full wage. Wu rents an apartment with a roommate in Beijing’s Tongzhou district, and spends 1.5 hours commuting to work. He pays 1,500 yuan per month on his apartment, 1,000 on food, 300 on utilities and Internet, and 200 on transport and communication.
All this means that his salary barely covers basic living expenses.
Another young graduate, surnamed Chen, who works in Jinan City of eastern China’s Shandong Province, gets 2,300 yuan per month. Living expenses in the city are slightly lower than Beijing, but Chen says he is frustrated with the low income. “It’s absolutely not enough to spend, and I can’t save anything,” he said in an interview with Chinese media.
The Center for Market and Media Studies at Peking University received 350,000 completed questionnaires from 24 cities, showing that the average income for new graduates this year is only 2,443 yuan, about half the price of an iPhone 5 in China.
Average savings for new graduates is 325 yuan ($53) a month; 36 percent of survey participants say they have no savings at all, and rely on their parents to cover their basic needs. About six percent of those who need extra financial support receive over 1,000 yuan from their parents every month.
Among the 24 cities in the survey, Shanghai and Beijing have the highest starting salaries for new graduates, and are also the only two cities whose starting salaries reach over 3,000 yuan ($488) a month.