Cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces have found an innovative way to attract young talent to the region – free hotel stays for college students while they hunt for jobs in the local area.
According to Chinese news site The Paper, several hotels in Hangzhou recently launched schemes whereby college students may apply to stay free of charge for up to 7 days. Hotels in other cities in Zhejiang province, including Ningbo, Jiaxing, and Huzhou, have launched similar schemes, along with hotels in Nanjing and Suzhou in Jiangsu province.
Upon providing proof of an interview invitation in the area, a free stay at designated hotels can be arranged in one working day. Free accommodation at these “free job-seeking hotels” or “youth talent stations” is offered for as long as 14 days in some cases.
Most job seekers don’t need that long, however. A high-level employee working for one such hotel in Hangzhou told Hangzhou Daily that the average stay for college students who make use of the scheme is 2-4 days. Successful candidates may be hired on the spot and can check out from the free hotel on the same day.
These services come amid a period of high youth unemployment in China. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the proportion of jobless 18-24 year-olds reached 18.1 % in January-February, up from 16.7% in December 2022.
Li Qiang, the new Premier of the Chinese Communist Party, paid lip service to the problem when speaking at his first press conference on March 13 : “This year’s college graduates are expected to reach 11.58 million people. From the perspective of employment, there will be certain pressure,” he said. “We will further expand employment channels and help young people.”
It is not clear whether the new schemes in Zhejiang and Jiangsu are part of a government-led initiative. Regardless, the free hotels are expected to ease the financial burden of job hunting for young people and maintain the flow of talent into the region.