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College grads seek better job stability at government posts

FRESH college graduates looking for jobs in Shanghai are increasingly enthusiastic about low-pay internship vacancies at government agencies as they believe these positions promise a stable and better career.

More than 6,000 college students flocked to a recruitment fair on Saturday to apply for jobs with Yangpu District government.

The fair started at 9am in the district's Wujiaochang area, but eager job seekers appeared in long lines at 8am.

"I have helped keep order at many job fairs, but I have never seen this much enthusiasm,'' a security guard said.

The students were more attracted to high-level government agencies. More than 400 students applied at the Yangpu District Human Resources and Social Security Bureau while only 100 left resumes with a neighborhood committee office under Wujiaochang Town.

These government interns will be granted a monthly allowance of between 1,200 yuan (US$175) and 1,500 yuan, which is similar to the lowest salary paid to fresh graduates by private firms. Those who perform well may be hired full time.

"The allowance is low," said a student surnamed Wang, who will graduate this year from a local engineering and technical college. "But it's only temporary. If I perform well, I may be hired by the government agency."

As a group, students have always had greater expectations from starting positions. But as the economic downturn unfolds, millions of college graduates have lowered their expectations due to the growing difficulty of finding work. They have also shifted their focus from big firms and multinational companies to government positions.

The Shanghai government has encouraged businesses to avoid layoffs in an effort to stabilize the labor market.

It also extended the graduates' internship program from six to 12 months and the number of vacancies at all levels of government agencies has been increased.

More than 150,000 students will graduate from the city's colleges in June.


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