More than 6 million Chinese students left university this year and up to a quarter are still struggling to find work. As the global slowdown bites, students such as Su know it can only get worse.
“The grim economic situation poses an unprecedented challenge for college graduates to get a proper job,” the ministry of education warned yesterday.
But the problems predate the crisis and mark both a success and failure on China’s part. “The number of graduates increased too quickly – by 2006 there were already five times more than in 1999. The labour market can’t take that big an increase in such a short time,” said Professor Yang Dongping of the Beijing Institute of Technology, the author of a report on graduate employment.
The expansion of higher education reflects China’s aspirations: the world’s factory needs more skilled workers to move up the chain, away from cheap mass production. Yet there are not yet enough higher-end jobs.