Space, agency and overseas employment for Chinese university graduates in a transient global labour market

Fang Lee Cooke, Xing Yao, Yumei Jiang, Alice Shuaishuai Li

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the relatively recent growth of the international labour market, particularly in the service industry, for temporary employment of university graduates from China. By examining the push and pull factors from the home and destination country, we treat the international labour market as a geographic and institutional space which is created by the institutional actors and in which these actors interact. Through 56 interviews conducted with 38 informants, this study examines the actions and interactions of institutional actors at the local level to develop insights into how these actors shape the space of this segment of the labour market through, for example, the insertion into the global labour market chain, human resource sourcing, training and development. The paper concludes by arguing that the development of the international labour market for Chinese university graduates is contingent upon the agency role and attitude of key institutional actors. And its current situation indicates a fragmented and piecemeal development with limited government support, institutional capacity and individual motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2622-2655
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017


  • China
  • employment agency
  • graduate overseas employment
  • institutional actor
  • labour market space
  • university

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