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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 Five: Gender Differences in Final Year Undergraduates’ Salary Expectations

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← 104 | 105 → CHAPTER FIVE

Gender Differences in Final Year Undergraduates’ Salary Expectations

5.1 Introduction

As presented in the introduction chapter, people’s employment expectations shape their long-term career choices (Holland, Gottfredson and Baker 1990; Patton and Creed 2007; Schoon and Parsons 2002). In China, most final year undergraduates in HEIs will embark on their first jobs if they are not going to continue their education as postgraduates. Therefore, it is important to shed some light on men’s and women’s expectations of their first jobs, given that they are on the edge of starting their careers. As mentioned before, in this study, those final year undergraduates’ employment expectations offirst jobs have been broken down into three types of expectations: salary expectations, occupational expectations and working region expectations, which will be addressed in Chapters Five, Six and Seven, respectively.

This chapter will focus on gender differences in final year undergraduates’ salary expectations. It firstly situates the topic in a wider analysis of gender differences in university graduates’ actual salaries, and then considers whether or not there are gender differences in final year undergraduates’ salary expectations when taking into account the programmes studied and their social backgrounds. Finally, it attempts to identify factors that have contributed to gender differences in final year undergraduates’ salary expectations.

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