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March 28, 2014

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Fierce competition for jobs awaits graduates

JUST 20 percent of the city’s 178,000 college students expected to graduate in June have secured a job, enrolled for further studies or made plans to travel abroad, educational authorities said yesterday.

Though the figure might look disappointing, with graduation now just months away, the proportion is actually higher than it was at the same point of last year, said Lu Jing, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission.

While the number of Shanghai graduates will be basically unchanged from last year, across the country the total is set to rise to a record 7.27 million, and the competition for jobs will be fiercer than ever.

“The employment situation for college graduates in Shanghai hasn’t improved much from last year,” Lu said.

The market is closely related to the country’s economy, and that is under structural reform and adjustment, he said.

Unlike in previous years, financial graduates will find it hard to secure a job as the industry has contracted.

The same is likely to apply to graduates in history, law, literature, art and sports, all of whom will have difficulty finding a good job with a decent salary, Lu said.

There is better news for those seeking a career in manufacturing, telecommunications and modern services, however, where vacancies are on the rise, while at the top of the pile, engineering graduates are the most sought-after, he said.

Different for girls

Average starting salaries will range from 2,000 (US$322) to 3,000 yuan a month for vocational school graduates, 3,000 to 4,000 yuan for university graduates, and 5,000 to 6,000 yuan for those with a postgraduate qualification, Lu said.

In terms of gender, women are likely to find it more difficult to land a job, even though they account for about half of all new graduates.

“That’s mainly because girls are more likely to study humanities, which offer fewer opportunities,” said Tian Lei, deputy director of the Shanghai Student Affairs Center.

“But even among engineering and science graduates, most companies are more likely to choose a man over a woman.”

More than 9,000 companies have registered a combined 90,000 jobs for college graduates with the center, which is an increase of 11 percent from last year, Tian said.

Of all the students set to graduate in June, more than 60 percent are non-locals, some of whom will return to work in their hometowns due to the high cost of living in Shanghai, Lu said.

Ping Hui, director of the student department at the Shanghai Education Commission, said about 70 percent of the non-local graduates chose to stay in Shanghai last year, down from more than 90 percent in previous years.

To help new graduates from poor families to find work, the city government has this year raised its subsidy to 1,000 yuan from 800 yuan to help cover the cost of getting to and from interviews.

Lu said the authorities will also continue to encourage fresh graduates to start their own businesses.

Last year, 700 of them launched their own companies, creating 1,500 job positions.


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