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Job shortage forces grads to think of new cities, new fields

THIS is a tough time for graduates as many companies, especially finance and real estate firms, are battered by the financial crisis and have reduced or stopped hiring.

But some school officials view the economic crisis as a good opportunity to show other real choices to graduates who mostly want to work for overseas companies in coastal cities.

School officials always hope more students will go to untapped western areas and work in basic industries. Maybe some will consider it as fancy jobs dry up.

There are about 158,000 college graduates in Shanghai this year, up 6 percent from a year earlier.

Zhang Jie, president of Jiao Tong University, worries because from 2004 to 2008 most graduates found jobs in Shanghai and stayed. Few chose further study or study abroad.

"Students of Jiao Tong University compete with each other in the city," he said. "But graduates can have bigger achievements in the bigger outside world."

Confronting fierce competition for few openings, many college students have lowered their salary expectations for jobs in the city. Some are beginning to think about jobs in second-tier cities and rural areas.

Students need school guidance in job hunting as their own information is very limited, said Zhang. Schools should play an important role in guiding students into all walks of life, including cutting-edge industry.

In recent years, fewer than 10 graduates were interested in photovoltaic industry, an unfamiliar but promising field, but after career counselling around 100 are now willing to work in related companies and research institutes, Zhang said.

The university also plans to increase its number of postgraduates and encourage more students to study abroad. Zhang said the school will increase the size and number of scholarships and stipends of doctoral students to attract more promising postgraduates.


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