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November 6, 2013

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Students seek starting salary hike

LOCAL university students graduating next summer expect a starting salary from foreign-invested companies 20 percent higher than offered last year.

Students said they’re looking for a monthly wage of at least 5,000 yuan (US$820) — up 913 yuan on the average salary of graduates hired by foreign-invested companies in 2012, a survey by China International Intellectech (Shanghai) Corp found.

This is even though many students feel the job market is still tight.

More than 10,000 students from local universities yesterday attended a fair at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where 130 foreign-invested companies were offering 1,000 positions — up 10 percent from last year.

But with a squeeze in some areas, competition is tough.

Chen Huaiyang, a senior student majoring in mechanical electronics at University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, said he’s felt a lot of pressure since starting looking for a job in September.

“I want a job in the automobile industry but I haven’t had a reply from companies I applied to,” Chen said.

“Companies with links to my university used to hire many graduates with my major, but they’ve cut back this year,” Chen told Shanghai Daily.

Chen said he would now take any job with a pre-tax 5,500 yuan monthly salary.

Students who major in finance, economics and accounting have even higher salary expectations, with many looking for between 6,000 to 8,000 yuan, though competition is fierce.

“The macroeconomic situation is still grim and the number of graduates and overseas returnees is rising,” said Xu Weifan, a postgraduate at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Xu said the pilot Shanghai free trade zone may generate many positions in trade and logistics but will have little impact on the finance industry.

Zhu Zhihui, an accounting student at Tongji University, recently applied to three companies, even though she is in the interview process with one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Zhu has also entered for the national civil service exam.

“Giving yourself a number of options is necessary to ensure you get at least one shot in the job market,” Zhu said.

The fair also attracted foreign students in Shanghai.

Americans Jason Arterburn and Kari-Elle Brown, studying at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, were seeking internship opportunities.

“I’m surprised at the number of students at the fair,” said Brown. “But it makes sense as there’s so much competition.”

Arterburn said that he wants to work in Shanghai as he speaks Mandarin and the city is full of opportunities.



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