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Job-seeking math graduates auction their services online

DESPERATE for jobs, 15 graduating math students in Beijing have put themselves up for auction at the e-commerce site

The 15 "recommended goods" have photos and resumes. Their "starting prices" range from 2,000 yuan (US$ 293) to 3,000 yuan.

"The price is our expected monthly pay," said Wang Danke, the web store owner and member of the graduating class in the Department of Mathematics of North China University of Technology in Beijing. "We'd like to 'sell' ourselves with our wit."

Among the 33 graduating students in Wang's department, 24 are still looking for jobs. Seven have gone on to postgraduate study. Only two have offers from employers, said Wang.

Finding jobs for college graduates is a growing problem in China. It became an even harder task for the 6.1 million June graduates after the global downturn started to bite. Compounding the problem are 1.5 million graduates who failed to find jobs last year, half a million more than in 2007.

Positions that offer decent pay or residential status in places such as Beijing and Shanghai each attract hundreds of applications.

"Most of the time all employers know about you is what's on your resume, which is just one more piece of paper in a pile," said Wang. "After four years of hard study our classmates feel like a bumper crop of oranges, with no one giving a bite." Thus, they turn to the Internet.

"My class is a class of elites: a basketball captain, an Olympic volunteer, a versatile painter and backbones of the student union," Wang's ad on the Website proclaimed.

The sale was suspended for three days this month after became concerned about the possible illegal use of personal information. Wang had to get his classmates to provide authorizations.

"We have confirmed with the students and their university that this is truly a method of job-hunting," said Zhao Jingpeng, from "We decided to make an exception given the tough employment situation."

Wang said his classmates were interviewed by headhunters on Tuesday, who said they "admired the students' energy to act."


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