Job Seeking: Social Networks as a Functional Substitute for Government’s Program



Job seeking is the first step in rural–urban migration. Local governments in the sending areas facilitate potential migrant workers’ job seeking in two ways: skills training and recruitment fairs. Based on empirical data, potential migrants’ job seeking can be categorized into two types. One is administrative coping, i.e., obtaining assistance through government programs. The other is social coping, i.e., finding jobs through informal channels including social networks (e.g., relatives, friends, and neighbors), unofficial job agencies (e.g., employment brokers), and themselves (e.g., finding employment without third-party assistance). A majority of the interviewed migrants do not make claims for assistance from government programs; instead, they found jobs with the help of social networks. Hence, for a large number of migrants, especially those who are older and have little or no education degree, social networks represent an important functional substitute for governmental policy intervention.


Job seeking Skill training Recruitment Social network Migrant worker Coping strategy China 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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