CHONGQING, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- While over 1 million returning overseas students took innovative careers and launched start-ups in their motherland in 2021, grassroots work in civil services and communities has become a new choice for more and more such returnees.
Facing fierce competition of only admitting one out of 130 applicants, Li Ziming, a 26-year-old returned overseas student who completed her master's degree in Britain, managed to land her job in a township-level government department in her hometown in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, last year.
"At first, people would cast doubtful eyes on my decision, because they thought my educational background should have earned me a better job. But I have my own reasons for choosing this career," said Li.
Li still remembers how she was once stranded abroad for half a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, stability becomes one of the most primary elements for her to consider a future career.
According to a report released in 2020 by Zhaopin.com, a Chinese human resources website, the number of overseas returnees willing to work in China soared 33.9 percent year on year in 2020. Notably, the growth rate in 2019 was 5.3 percent, and 4.3 percent back in 2018.
Another report on the website, released last year, showed that one-third of such returnees were looking forward to being admitted to state-owned enterprises, while 59 percent of the surveyed had sensed an obvious strong preference for jobs in civil services among their group.
However, such jobs are not winning the young returnees' hearts merely because of stability.
Having worked for a year now, Li has begun to enjoy grassroots work in the township.
"There is a lot of knowledge needed to learn, like dealing with villagers' demands and implementing specific policies on rural vitalization," said Li. "Also, more and more young talents have chosen to work in the town. I am not alone."
Another 26-year-old returnee, Wang Zixuan, now has worked in a sub-district office in a county in east China's Shandong Province for about one year.
Wang did consider working in foreign trade companies, universities and the like, but she eventually made up her mind to do something "more meaningful" in her eyes.
Her final decision was greatly inspired by her grandfather and father. They are a retired military doctor and a civil servant, respectively.
"Having seen them contributing their whole life to making our country develop better, I feel deeply touched. During my daily work, I always keep in mind that I should stay humble and search for creative and efficient ways to make things done," Wang said.
Zhao Xin, head of Dongxi Township, Qijiang District of Chongqing, has observed the trend as well. He has witnessed many graduates with shining academic certificates, including those who returned from overseas, flooding into China's grassroots services.
"Some come for stability, but some are full of ambition and want to do their bit in China's grassroots civil services. Sometimes, I feel amazed by their working attitudes and ideology," Zhao said.
"Their broad horizons, bilingual skills, and other personal specialties will inject strong impetus to our rural development and help drive our country's future economic growth," he added.