Social Networks, Sectors and Occupational Attainment in Urban China
Since the late 1970s, the People’s Republic of China has experienced a progressive market transition that has led to profound changes in organizations. The development of product market has nurtured the emergence and growth of the private sector, two parallel while competing sectors, the state sector and the private sector have coexisted since then. China has been a “relationship based” society since ancient times, social networks as an efficient channel have been frequently used during job searching process. Do social networks still have effects on job attainment during the transition to a market economy? From macro structural perspective, do social networks have distinctive influence on job attainment across different sectors, namely state sector and private sector? Based on the dataset of “Job Searching and Social Networks” (JSNet 2009), which is drawn from eight big cities, Xi’an, Changchun, Jinan, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Lanzhou. I assess the variation of social networks in different sectors by splitting the dataset into two parts (the state sector and the private sector), and organizing occupational attainment into three categories: administrative/managerial positions, professional positions and ordinary workers. The findings show that there have been continuity and significant effects of social networks in obtaining occupations in both state sector and private sector across the transition period. Taking Chinese cultural background into consideration, strong ties play a more imperative role in job attainment as compared to weak ties. Significant variations of social networks exist across different sectors: network mechanism works more effectively in the state sector than the private sector; regarding state sector, job applicants who use network methods have greater probabilities to secure administrative/managerial jobs and ordinary jobs in comparison to professional positions, while in private sector, social networks only have effects on searching for administrative/managerial occupations, reflecting the functions of both the persistence of institutions and emerging market forces.
Social networks, Occupational attainment, Private sector, State sector
Master of Arts (M.A.)