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Blog: the average monthly salary of new graduates

Today’s entry is a blog commentary about new college graduates entering the job market. This year, there were 7.49 million college graduates, reporting an average monthly salary of almost 2700 RMB (approximately 422 USD). The blog writer tries to make sense of the dissatisfaction and the new employment pattern among the 90后 (that is, children born after 1990) and dispenses some advice. The accompanying news video provides a more factual look at employment prospects for new graduates.

Blog writing is less formal than article writing and provides a more casual set of vocabulary to use for more colloquial writing opportunities. However, the vocabulary describing all aspects of employment, such as job hopping, entering the market, etc, is universally applicable.

Today’s grammar point will be superseded by a brief discussion of two Chinese catchphrases, the “90后” and “素质”.

In everyday parlance, 80后 and 90后 refer to adults who were born in the 1980s or in the 1990s, respectively. Children in the first group never experienced under very strict ideological indoctrination as previous generations had and grew up under an austere but slowly liberalizing atmosphere (except at the very end), while 90后 children grew up during a era of commercial liberalization and increasing prosperity. These two generational terms are used extensively as shorthand for a plethora of personal characteristics, often with the overall expectation being that these children are not as good as enduring hardship or working as hard as previous generations did.

The second, “素质”, means “basic essence” or “inner quality”. When not used in the negative (e.g. 素质很低), it generally points to the expectation that the person is well-educated, well-spoken and behaves politely and courteously. In the Confucian tradition, continued education and practice in the habits of a good person will make her a better person in time. How to raise the level of 素质 in Chinese society is an encompassing concern in discussion, which continuous efforts to do so through education, through public education campaigns, etc.

The closest analogue that I have come across in English is in historical English novels, in which a person is described as “well-bred”, in which he has been brought up and trained according to aristocratic expectations of knowledge and behavior. However, the term does carry unintentionally pejorative connotations and is no longer not in common use.

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