China’s Solution for Unemployed College Grads: State Jobs in the Boonies

From Washington Post:

Liu Yongquan thought he was well prepared for China’s job market, with his degree in electromechanical engineering. But a long internship had provided no help in the way of connections, nor any real job experience. So after graduating in 2007, he headed for rural Laozhuanghu village in Xiji town, on the outskirts of Beijing, where he works as a librarian, passing out legal and health-care notices and conducting surveys.

“I’m not from the city, so this job can solve my residential permit problem. Second, the rural experience helps me in my civil service exam,” said Liu, who is from Shandong province and now hoping for the stability of a state job. “I’m forgetting all my engineering knowledge, but this work doesn’t need professional skill. It is enough if you are patient and careful.”

Chinese officials, spurred by the global financial crisis that has slowed economic growth and nervous about the prospects of more than 1.5 million unemployed college graduates, have stepped up spending and bolstered programs to help graduates get jobs, including a two-year-old plan to send people like Liu to work as rural village officials. Unemployment among recent college graduates stands at 12 percent, according to government statistics, nearly triple the overall unemployment rate of 4.2 percent at the end of December, itself the highest in five years.

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