The year 2011 was once dubbed the hardest year for job-hunting, with a record number of 6.3 million graduates leaving campuses across China. So what do you call 2013, with its nearly 7 million graduates entering the job market? It looks tough.
April is considered the final phase of job-hunting for the majority of college seniors. But according to a recent report by Guangdong’s provincial education bureau, only 30 percent of graduates have signed an employment contract, reported Nanfang Daily.
Luo Weiqi, head of the Guangdong education bureau, said the situation this year is even more severe than in 2008, when the global financial crisis started. Luo attributes the difficulties of finding jobs to two factors.
“Due to the global recession, demand for graduates remains weak as industries that rely on exports have been hit by reduced foreign consumption. Campus talks have decreased by 10 percent this year,” said Luo. “The other reason is the oversupply of graduates, nearly 7 million nationwide.”
A trend of training those already employed to develop new skills is emerging among employers, which is also squeezing the chances of fresh graduates.
At a recent discussion forum in Shanghai, Xu Jing, an HR manager, spoke to her counterparts from across the country. The majority of big companies now favor those with relevant work experience rather than fresh graduates.
“When the economy is good, companies have the time and resources to train new hands,” said Xu. “But when they need to tighten their budgets, they want people who can do things straight away.”
Another downside is that students always want a better deal.
Wang Enbo, an economics major at Guangzhou University, received an offer from a local trading company to be an assistant sales manager on a salary of 2,500 yuan a month. But the 24-year-old wanted more, so she turned down the offer in the hope of finding a job with a better salary. She is still looking.
According to a white paper on employment in Guangdong province, the average salary for students with a bachelor’s degree was 2,795 yuan a month in the first quarter of this year.
“This is far below what students expect for an entry level job,” commented Li Zhiguo, who works for a marketing and consulting company based in Beijing.
Li said that although official numbers are not available, students nationwide expect a salary of around 3,500 yuan according to his estimation.
He suggests students adopt a more realistic approach to finding a job.
“For entry level jobs, don’t focus too much on the money,” said Li. “Once you get through the first year things will be better.”