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Applicants for funeral jobs thinning out

A THIRD of the college graduates who were offered a chance at working in the local funeral industry may have dropped out, and more people may drop out after they were given a tour of cemeteries and funeral parlors yesterday, as some complained the visits were not as "exciting" as they expected and didn't give them a clear idea of what their future jobs may entail.

More than 200 students visited the Longhua and Yishan funeral parlors and the Fushouyuan Cemetery. The itinerary didn't include visits to the make-up room in the funeral parlor, and students didn't have to touch corpses.

A student from Shanghai University of Engineering Science who wasn't willing to be identified, said he still wondered whether he was mentally prepared for the work.

"I expected I would see a body today, but I didn't," he said. "So I don't know how I'll react when I see one if I start working."

Only 250 of the 366 graduates offered interviews turned up at a training session organized by the Shanghai Funeral Industry Association on Wednesday.

Nine of the 29 applicants for Yishan funeral parlor jobs dropped out and 11 of the 40 who qualified for the Binghaiguyuan Cemetery did not turn up.

Shanghai held its first job fair for the funeral sector on March 21. The fair attracted 3,220 graduate applicants looking for 418 jobs at 18 local funeral parlors and cemeteries. More than 70 percent of the graduates were from Shanghai.

The high drop-out rate was not unexpected. "Some graduates dropped out because they had found other jobs," said Wang Hongjie, the association's director. "We can understand their choice. The negative impressions of the funeral business will affect their and their families' decisions."


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