PLA zeroes in on college hiring

Updated: 2011-12-22 09:13

By Zhao Shengnan and Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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The general staff officer said the Labor Law entitles businesses to make their own hiring decisions, so governments - which cannot give administrative orders to private enterprises - must find other ways to help military veterans.

Liu said the reciprocal choice between employees and employers makes it inevitable that veterans will be provided that one-time payment instead of jobs.

"But I believe," the general staff officer said, "as long as they are given opportunities by enterprises, retired soldiers will perform very well based on their honest and persistent character molded in the army."

PLA zeroes in on college hiring

Migrant work vs army

The new employment policy, despite its improvements, may be not appealing enough for youths coming from poverty-stricken areas. On average, they can earn much more as migrant workers in affluent areas, the general staff officer said.

"I think central government's regulation can balance uneven levels of compensation from region to region," he said. "However, the western and central provinces are willing, but incapable of giving as much money as the developed regions do."

An officer in the Gansu Recruitment Office argued that despite Northwest China's gap with developed Eastern China, the annual pay for Gansu recruits has equaled or even surpassed local income levels. The provincial average is 15,000 yuan a year.

With the military providing free food, clothing and dorm housing and a monthly subsidy of 500 or 600 yuan, the recruitment officer said, the annual net income for a soldier will be more than for a migrant worker, a choice that is especially alluring to rural youth.

Not about the money

Some young recruits said the stronger motivation for recruitment comes from their curiosity about military life and a yearning for a more disciplined self.

"Recruits actually seldom talk about money, though better treatment for schooling and job hunting helps ease some applicants' concerns about their future," said Jia from Tsinghua University. "Today's youth care more about their growth in the army, especially psychologically. Personally, I found myself more diligent and certain to work for the public's good in the future."

Zhou Ling, a 23-year-old Beijing resident, gave up an engineering job paying 5,000 yuan ($773) a month to fulfill his dream of "defending the homeland". He volunteered in October to be a soldier in Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region.

Zhou's mother, a successful businesswoman, initially opposed her son's decision because he was likely to be promoted to a management position one year later. His father, who has served in the army for 20 years, finally convinced his wife.

"Parents always want the best for their children. My wife and I are not an exception," the father, Zhou Jinhong, said. "My son will realize his dream, broaden his vision and steel himself in the army. Isn't this good enough?"

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