Can China fix youth unemployment woes with military recruitment drive?


By Minnie Chan

…..Observers say PLA plan to recruit more graduates will boost modernisation and help to ease record jobless rate for young people.

…More than 11 million students will graduate this year as the PLA’s academies focus on attracting candidates with tech and leadership skills.

This year’s graduates from China’s universities number more than 11 million, with the PLA hoping to attract some of the brightest and best. Photo: AFP

BEIJING -More than 90 per cent of this year’s recruitment to the Chinese military could be drawn from fresh graduates and high school students, in a bid to meet the People’s Liberation Army’s modernisation targets and ease the country’s record youth unemployment.

A source close to the military, who asked not to be identified, said the target represented a 10 per cent increase on average student recruitment rates of previous years.

Analysts said that a drive to encourage educated young people to join the PLA was likely to have a twin purpose, with Beijing determined to achieve a world-class military by 2050 and more than 11 million graduates expected to swell the job market this year.

China’s Ministry of Education has forecast that 11.58 million students will graduate this year, at the same time as unemployment rates for the 16-24 age group are at record highs – hitting 20.8 per cent in May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Source: South China Morning Post (


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