高考放榜日 | 如今，高考高分对职业成功到底还有多重要？
How Critical Is A High Gaokao Score To A Person’s Career Success These Days?
Today, millions of young people will receive their Gaokao results. Some will celebrate their high score and relief from meeting the expectations of their parents, loved ones, and much of the society. Many others, however, will receive scores that fall short of their expectations and the expectations of others. Many will feel overwhelming disappointment and uncertainty about their future. For these people, I want to tell them that your future doesn’t look as bad as you might think.
When Your Gaokao Score Determined Your Future
Before I go on, I need to say that I was born and raised in the U.S., so I’ve never faced the daunting challenge of studying for the GaoKao exam. I’ve never experienced the pressure of being just 18 years of age and having a single event determine my future. Given my lack of discipline when I was younger, I’d have likely disappointed my parents and all those who had high hopes for my future. So I’m certainly no Gaokao authority.
However, as the founder and CEO of a leading recruitment firm in China for the past 20+ years, I do have a very good view of the employment and talent market here. I know a lot about the kinds of people, capabilities, and qualities that are important for achieving success today across many industries, professions, and companies. It’s this perspective that I can share.
Perhaps 10-20 years ago, it made sense to put aside everything else to prepare for and score well on the Gaokao exam. Getting into a top school was critical to having a bright future. A degree from a top university allowed you to pursue a relatively smaller number of career options after graduation compared to today, such as getting a graduate degree, working for the government, or pursuing a profession that’s highly technical, scientific, or analytical in nature.
Big Changes Going On In China’s Job Market
Actually, this is still the case for most of these career tracks. However, today’s shifting economic realities is creating a dramatically different employment landscape, where young professionals can now pursue jobs and careers that are more commercial-, consumer-, and service-oriented in nature. This includes the fast-growing e-commerce, digital marketing, social media, and mobile applications world. It also includes the growing consumer services, food services, consumer retail, entertainment & travel, fitness & health, and education & training industries, where soft skills, the ability to engage others and delivering a great user experience are key success factors for your success.
For these fast-growing industry sectors and career opportunities, spending 1000s of hours alone staring at books and memorizing massive amounts of information doesn’t exactly nurture the qualities and skills that are sought and needed. It doesn’t exactly prepare you for a job market that increasingly values people who can connect with and influence others, respond to fast-changing situations, deliver solutions and build things from nothing.
The Rise Of New, Highly Sought Capabilities And Qualities
I’m not trying to say that scoring well on the Gaokao is no longer important. Of course, this will benefit your future and bring you more opportunities. But for those high school kids who didn’t score well on this year’s Gaokao because, instead of studying, they spent a little too much time playing basketball/soccer/some other sport, surfing the internet, shopping online, watching movies, pursuing a hobby, or just hanging out with friends, I want to tell them that all is not lost. Fortunately, the emotional intelligence, social skills, and user & consumer sense that you may have developed instead happen to be highly sought by employers today.
For instance, among our clients, we see the growing need for marketing/marketing communications/PR professionals with good communication skills and user & consumer sense, for many kinds of consulting and service industry professionals with strong problem-solving skills, for human resources and talent development professionals with good people skills, for business development and product management professionals with good market sense and business skills, for offline & online business professionals with strong product and marketing sense, and for lifestyle industry professionals (e.g. entertainment, sports, fitness & health, etc.) who understand user experience.
While our recruitment consultants still notice a candidate’s education background, we don’t emphasize it for these positions. Most of the responsibilities and key requirements to handle them are based on qualities and skills that are developed through the exposure to business situations and by interacting with others.
More Ways To Achieve Your Career Success Today
For instance, we recently placed a candidate who went to a good but not top school in a 2nd tier city for a social media management position in a BAT. Because of his passion for digital marketing, strong user sense and ability to communicate creatively, this candidate was able to beat out many other candidates from much better schools.
So while getting a high score on the Gaokao exam is, of course, still a highly desirable result, keep in mind that there are many more options today for pursuing a successful career that can be achieved without a high Gaokao exam score. So if you know any young people who may be feeling that their future just turned dark today, tell them not to be too hard on themselves. Instead, let them know that times are changing and so are the key success factors for having a bright future.