China grads feel job market chill amid global crisis

Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:49pm EST
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By Ian Ransom

BEIJING (Reuters) - Holding fresh CVs but lowered hopes, hundreds of thousands of Chinese students flocked to recruitment fairs across the country this week as the government warned them not to be fussy amid the global financial crisis.

"I'll take anything so long as it's over 1,000 yuan ($146) a month," said an IT graduate surnamed Wu, clutching application forms at a job fair at the Beijing Vocational College of Electronic Science.

"I wanted to find a job as a web designer, but the situation with IT companies at the moment is very bad. They've all been shedding workers and the competition is fierce," said Wu.

Wu is among 6.1 million students entering the workforce in China next year, 500,000 more than last year, as the economy faces slipping into single-digit annual growth for the first time since 2002.

Having complained of declining graduate salaries over the last few years as the number of degree holders has exploded, job-seeking students are now frustrated as companies cut salaries and staff amid a bleak economic outlook.

"The global financial crisis has really affected the job markets. Companies have scaled back their recruitment plans," said Zhang, a 22-year-old accounting student.

"My parents have given me some pressure to find a steady job," she said, standing next to a company's recruitment stall thronged by students.

China's graduate recruitment drive aims to find nearly 400,000 jobs for graduates through job fairs in 259 cities involving more 30,000 companies across the country.   Continued...