Tibetan university graduates can’t find work despite promises of opportunity

Competition from Han Chinese and demands for proficiency in Mandarin make jobs scarce.
By Sangyal Kunchok
Tibetan university graduates can’t find work despite promises of opportunity Tibetan students attend a language class at a school in Lhasa in a file photo.

Tibetan university graduates are finding it hard to get work in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, with Han Chinese flooding the job market and public-sector employment kept largely out of reach, according to complaints received online by a Chinese government office in the city, Tibetan sources say.

Nearly a third of the emails sent on Nov. 18 to an online platform inviting citizen feedback involved the increasing lack of opportunities for Tibetans leaving school, according to state media reports citing 70 emails out of 246 received.

Authorities’ promises to create more jobs for Tibetan graduates have gone unfulfilled in recent years, said one graduate of Lhasa’s Tibet University, speaking to RFA.

“It is a fact that it’s been very difficult for Tibetan graduates to find jobs. I have been without a job, too,” RFA’s source said.

“The government promised in 2018 that they would create more employment opportunities for university graduates, but most of the professional jobs are still being offered to Han Chinese, so Tibetans are struggling to find work,” he said.

Formerly, a few job opportunities as teachers or in minor government positions had been available to Tibetans graduating from universities, another Tibetan source said, writing to RFA in an email.

“However, during the last few years many Chinese have moved into Tibet in the name of development, and Tibetan graduates have thus lost all their opportunities of finding a job. And even if they find a job, they are only hired under contract and are paid on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Also speaking to RFA, Karma Tenzin — a researcher at the Dharamsala, India-based Tibet Policy Institute — said that even when Tibetans are hired for government positions, they are often placed in departments unrelated to their training or major in school.

“So this underscores how the Tibetan people face discrimination even when it comes to the level of their education,” Tenzin said.

A majority of Tibetan job applicants have been unable to find work at private companies, including high-tech firms and manufacturers, making well-paying employment in the civil sector a top priority for job seekers, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

Requirements for proficiency in Mandarin Chinese in testing and consideration for employment have disadvantaged Tibetan students, though, as China seeks to promote the dominance of Chinese culture and language in Tibetan areas, sources say.

Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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