Many college graduates these days settle for any job they can find while still searching for better career opportunities. Graduates often have an employment contract in hand, but will breach it once a more ideal job opportunity comes along.
This approach may seem wise, but it might have a few unintended consequences. Professionals suggest graduates be cautious when breaching an employment contract.
A bitter outcome
A recent survey published by recruiting website 51job.com shows that 46 percent of this year's graduates have experience scrapping an employment contract. Most of them did so for a better job opportunity, but some didn't foresee what happened next.
Ling Feng, 22, a recent graduate of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, signed a tripartite agreement between his university and a State-owned enterprise in January. They agreed on Ling working as an engineer at the business' Gansu branch beginning in August.
But Ling received an offer from another company in Shanghai later. When he spoke with the human resources department at the State-owned enterprise, they refused his request to breach the contract.
"I not only lost the opportunity to work in a metropolis, but I also left a bad impression with my employer," he said.
Sticking with it
Though it's reasonable for graduates to search for better opportunities, breaching contracts could undermine their career prospects, according to Feng Lijuan, chief consultant at 51job.com.
"Graduates tend to compare job opportunities based on their immediate interests," she said. "However, they miss the point, which is that many companies start graduates with entry-level positions for a year or two before offering better roles and bigger responsibilities."
Even worse, hires that breach their contracts face significant punitive action, according to Pan Jiaqi, a lawyer with the Lanbai Law firm in Shanghai.
"If a graduate signs a work contract or tripartite agreement with a company, that company is able to demand compensation if the graduate reneges on the deal," he said. He added that financial losses can reach into ten thousand yuan for graduates.
Quitting the right way
So what if a graduate really must break their contract? Hong Xiangyang of the Shanghai Sunward Career Consultant Company, claims graduates should have a sincere conversation with their employer.
"Leaving without informing your employer is the worst," he said. "Most companies, especially private companies, are quite considerate. They will not make things difficult for a graduate looking to pursue a better opportunity."
This notion is echoed by Chen Qiujuan, a 23-year-old graduate of Beihang University, who voided her tripartite agreement with a private company. She warns graduates to study their university's policies before making the decision.
"Take my university as an example. If the company you're leaving is a university partner, you are not allowed to sign a different tripartite agreement with a new employer," she said.