Tropical Geography ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (3): 385-395.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003458

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Determinants of Employment City Selection of Young Intellectual Migrants: A Case Study of Guangzhou University Graduates

Yuanyuan Xie1(), Jinhao Li1, Ling Ma1,2,3()   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
    2.The Research Center for Human Geography and Urban Development in Southern China, Guangzhou 510006, China
    3.Guangdong Provincial Center for Urban and Migration Studies, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2021-02-28 Revised:2021-06-23 Online:2022-03-05 Published:2022-03-21
  • Contact: Ling Ma;


With the transformation of urban knowledge economy, cities pay more and more attention on efforts to attract knowledge talents, including young intellectuals. Taking college students in Guangzhou as an example, this research adopts a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the mobility of young intellectual migrants, and the characteristics and influencing factors of their employment city selection. The research has found the following. First, young intellectual migrants generally tend to choose cities where their undergraduate or postgraduate studies are located and cities with higher grades than their household registration and place of study (i.e., first-tier and new first-tier cities), which reflects their willingness and motivation for upward spatial and social mobility. Second, their employment mobility is a process of the interaction between urban and individual factors. Its influencing factors mainly include urban environment, economy, policy and culture, as well as the type of household registration and the city level of household registration, among others. Third, urban economy development (job opportunities) is the most important factor for attracting young intellectual migrants, along with employment opportunities, wage levels, and others. At the same time, amenities such as cultural facilities and educational institutions, as well as physical features such as climate and natural environment and other living comforts (living opportunities) play an increasingly important role in the employment mobility of young intellectual migrants. Therefore, urban environmental construction needs to pay attention to public cultural facilities, social comfort, transportation convenience, health service facilities, and urban natural and living environment. The urban policies of high-level cities are more attractive to young intellectual migrants, including talent introduction, housing subsidies and urban development policies. Fourth, in terms of personal factors, the type of household registration and the city level of the source of youth intellectual migration have significant impact on their employment mobility decisions. There are differences in the mobility costs between the different types and city level of household registration, which further affects their employment mobility behavior. A detailed exploration of the employment mobility law of young intellectual migrants and its influencing factors is necessary to understand and construct a knowledge-based talent mobility theory based on Chinese context in the new era. It is also the key to talent policy formulation and the realization of the value of knowledge talents.

Key words: Young intellectual migrants, employment city selection, job opportunity, life opportunity, Guangzhou

CLC Number: 

  • C964.2