China Jobs Slump Makes Graduates Swap Dreams for Civil Service
Sun Yizhen considered her university degree in international trade the ticket to a prestigious career with a state-owned enterprise like Bank of China Ltd. in Beijing. Instead, she found herself huddled against a freezing wind in a middle school parking lot in Huai’an, waiting to interview for a job with the local tax collector.
“I never thought I’d go for civil-servant jobs,” said Sun, 21. “But the financial crisis is something that none of us would expect. We’re just desperate.”
The global financial meltdown is taking a toll on this year’s 6.1 million Chinese college graduates and the 1 million still unemployed from last year. The government said the 2009 official urban registered unemployment rate may reach 4.6 percent — a three-decade high — as collapsing exports drag gross domestic product to its lowest growth rate in nine years.
That is turning off the pipeline depositing new graduates with multinational corporations and state companies, forcing many students to lower their sights and consider the once- unthinkable for them: a civil-service career. The last test for central government openings attracted about 775,000 candidates – – or 56 for every job, a 20 percent jump from the year before.