In the past six months, he has sent his resume to more than 300 companies and made 10 interviews without an offer. Now he’s looking for jobs that pay 20 to 30 percent less. He also started looking in other cities near Shanghai.
At 35 years old, he feels young. But to society, he said, 35 is like a “plague.”
Cici Zhang is 32 and has already been told by employers that she is too old. She showed a screenshot of a job opening at a company that sells maternity products, with an age limit of less than 32 years. One of her former supervisors told her that he could replace her with a recent graduate after three months of training.
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Chinese companies like to follow the latest trends rather than perfect what they already have, she said. So experience and expertise are not the qualities they value the most.
As a woman, Ms. Zhang faces additional layers of discrimination. Since she was 25, she has answered questions from employers about when she planned to have children. If she answered that she and her husband had no such plans, she was asked what their parents thought of their decision.
After being fired in September, Ms. Zhang, a marketing professional, messaged more than 3,000 companies, sent her resume to more than 300, and received fewer than 10 job interviews. Last month, she was finally offered a job at a small company.
She accepted the job and felt no excitement or happiness about it.
“I used to have expectations. I wanted promotions, pay raises and a better life,” she said. “Now I have none. I just want to survive.”
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She and her husband feel they cannot afford to have children. They have a mortgage and could barely make ends meet when she was out of work, fearing he too would lose his job.