Understanding the Influence of Discrimination in the Graduate Employment Market for English Language Teachers in China: Lessons for Higher Education Institutions.

Jones, Michael
(2021) Understanding the Influence of Discrimination in the Graduate Employment Market for English Language Teachers in China: Lessons for Higher Education Institutions. Doctor of Education thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Higher education institutions are under pressure to maximise student employability. However, the realities of graduate employment, and the criteria upon which employers select candidates, is complex. Higher education often promotes meritocratic rewards, however real-world hiring decisions are subjective and sometimes discriminatory. Equally complex is the division of responsibilities and accountabilities between different university departments, including Careers Service Offices. This study seeks to advise higher education institutions how they can better prepare students for the discrimination that they may encounter in graduate employment markets, specifically that for English language teachers in China. This study adopts an interpretivist methodology. It utilises interviews and surveys to gather comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data on the experiences of graduates with discrimination in the English teaching industry in China. This research builds upon ample literature discussing discrimination both within the global English language teaching industry and within China. Although factors such as age, weight, and sexuality emerge as pivotal to some individual experiences, the most common themes to emerge relate to discrimination based upon ethnicity and first-language. Through the research and existing literature we identify the value judgements idealising the ‘native speaker’, and the broader challenges of racism in China. This study looks at the relative influence of factors such as qualifications and experience compared to demographic factors such as ethnicity in employment decisions, while asking graduates how well they feel they were prepared for the realities of discrimination in the employment market by their higher education institutions. The study seeks to develop a broad understanding of the varied experiences and opinions of graduates, and as such cannot guarantee a full picture of person-independent reality. Nevertheless, the experiences identified are real and are likely to be shared by future graduates entering the same context. This study concludes with a series of recommendations for higher education institutions, including that; they should consider mandatory, or voluntary, courses to advise future graduates on finding employment, both locally, and internationally; they should overtly discuss discrimination in the job market with all students; they should overtly address differences between discrimination in the domestic and international employment markets; and they should directly address the unique challenges of international job-seeking, and issues of culture-shock when pursuing international careers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Education)
Uncontrolled Keywords: English Teaching, China, Discrimination, Racism, Graduate Employment, Job Market, Employability, Higher Education
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2022 15:57
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2022 07:12
DOI: 10.17638/03144729
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3144729