Social mobility and international graduates in China

Zhai, Keyu (2020) Social mobility and international graduates in China. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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By comparing the social and spatial mobility of international and home graduates, this is a unique study into Chinese international graduates’ post-study living and working experiences.

It aims to address the overarching research question: What is the social mobility of international graduates in China? To answer this question, I proposed five sub-questions: 1) What are the labour market outcomes of Chinese students obtaining master’s degrees abroad compared with those of non-mobile Chinese graduates? 2) What factors affect international and home graduates’ labour market success in China? 3) What is the perceived social mobility of international graduates compared with that of home graduates in China? 4) What is the relationship between social and spatial mobility of international and home graduates in China? 5) What roles do international graduates play in social class formation and culture and lifestyle change in China?

Adopting a mixed-methods approach to research and a pragmatic paradigm, this study employs survey and in-depth interviews to collect data. A multi-regression model, mapping analysis and thematic analysis are used to analyse the data. Although home graduates perform better in the labour market and upward social mobility than the international graduates, the international graduates are still favoured by China’s labour market and have more opportunities to develop their careers through their accumulated cultural and social capital. Interestingly, their labour market outcomes and social mobility are closely connected to their spatial mobility. The analyses reveal that the likelihood of studying abroad is linked to one’s place of origin and positively associated with parental socio-economic status. Moreover, the results of the mapping analysis highlight the uneven opportunities for spatial mobility when comparing international returnees with their peers. Therefore, this study recommends that policymakers should focus on social security and institutions for high-end home graduates. Increasing equality of education opportunities, especially the chances of studying abroad, can shrink the social mobility and inequality gaps.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Funder's Name: China Scholarship Council
Supervisor's Name: Moskal, Dr. Marta and Read, Dr. Barbara
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Keyu Zhai
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81316
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 May 2020 14:45
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2022 16:01
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81316

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