Where Will All the Students Go?
The global financial crisis could hardly have struck China’s university campuses at a worse time. Even before economic growth began slowing last year, graduates had been having a tough time getting jobs thanks to a surge in college enrolment. This year 6.1m students will graduate from Chinese universities, nearly six times as many as in 2000. Next year the figure is expected to rise to about 7m. In 2011 it will reach a peak of nearly 7.6m according to Beijing Evening News, a state-owned newspaper.
[...]In 2006 the government was already trying to find something useful for graduates to do by encouraging them to take up jobs in villages as assistants to rural officials. They were promised preferential treatment after three years in the countryside when applying for civil-service jobs or for places in graduate school. Beijing municipality, which includes a large rural hinterland, says it has already fulfilled its goal of installing two graduates in every village. Last year there were 17,000 applicants in the city for 3,000 such posts. Now the government worries that the first to enroll in this scheme are about to finish their three years and return to seek their employment rewards. In Beijing, officials have urged them to extend their contracts.
The government might draw comfort from a growing interest among university students in joining the Communist Party. In some colleges most of them have put in applications. More than 8% of students are now members, compared with just over 1% in 1990. As party literature laments, however, this is often far less about love for the Communist cause than it is about burnishing credentials. In the Beijing Institute of Technology, a student at the job fair brandishes a CV with the eye-catching words “Communist Party member” at the top.
Xinhua reports on the government’s job creation efforts:
China’s government has pledged to create 1 million jobs for college graduates in the service outsourcing industry in five years.
A document issued by the ministries of education and commerce Friday said China would have 1.2 million trained service outsourcing personnel in a sector worth 30 billion U.S. dollars by 2013.
Outsourcing services include research and development in software, product technology and information technology, and industrial design.