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Choices and Constraints

Gender Differences in the Employment Expectations of Final Year Undergraduates in a University in Central China

Jian Zhu

This book seeks to investigate gender differences in final year undergraduates’ employment expectations of their starting jobs, including salary, occupational and working region expectations, and to identify factors that have contributed to gender differences in these expectations. It employs an on-site self-completion questionnaire survey and a follow-up semi-structured interview carried out in a university in Central China. The study adopts the conceptual perspective of ‘choice and constraint’, which means that male and female final year undergraduates are able to make their own choices towards employment expectations; however, their choices of employment expectations are limited by a number of constraints. Empirical studies find that there are gender differences in employment expectations. This study further reveals the influence of gendered economic roles, experienced or perceived sex discrimination in China’s graduate labour market job preferences and parents’ expectations on those gender differences in employment expectations.
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Chapter One: Introduction

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← xiv | 1 → CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1 Introduction

This mixed methods study- focuses on gender differences in the employment expectations of final year undergraduates in a university in central China. The existing literature is mostly focused on the salary expectations of university students or graduates, and most of it is based on the western context. Little attention has been paid to gender differences in the research area of employment expectations; while relevant research on gender differences in expectations of occupation and geographical location of employment is sparse. This book seeks to investigate gender differences in the employment expectations of final year undergraduates, including their expectations of salary, occupation and location of workplace, and to identify factors that have contributed to gender differences in employment expectations, using an on-site self-completion questionnaire survey and follow-up semi-structured interviews carried out in a university in central China. The study adopts the conceptual perspective of ‘choice and constraint’ originally proposed by Crompton and Harris (1998). In this context, male and female final year undergraduates are able to make their own choices regarding their employment expectations; however, their employment expectations are limited by a number of constraints, such as gendered economic roles within the family, sex discrimination in the labour market and different job preferences between males and females, as well as parental expectations.

This chapter begins with a statement of the problem and then identifies the research questions in the study, followed by a justification of the key...

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