Graduates seek self-employment

INTRODUCTION: A participant waits for customers at a promotion event for startup businesses run by college graduates in Kunming, Yunnan Province, on May 17

The large number of Chinese college graduates this year will once again face a fierce battle as they compete for a strained supply of jobs, a battle that has become an annual event as the academic year comes to a close.

China will see a total of 7.27 million students graduating from college this year, a majority of whom are expected to enter the job market in June and July. The number is 280,000 more than last year, which was considered the hardest year to find a job since the global economic downturn in 2008.

Compared to 10 years ago, the number of graduates has doubled after the Chinese Government has encouraged universities to up their enrollment and many parents still regard higher education as the only means for their children to achieve success.

As a result, college education has become common, said Mo Rong, Director of the Institute of International Labor and Social Security under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. He added that the situation is no longer the same as in the 1980s when undergraduate diplomas normally guaranteed stable and respected jobs.

"There are around 15 million young people who search for jobs around this time of year, nearly half of which are college graduates this time round," Mo said.

It's reported that the total number of people seeking employment each year stands at around 25 million.

According to a survey released on May 13 by the Institute of Economics of Education at Peking University, 71.9 percent of college students who graduated last year were able to find jobs.

The survey, which sampled more than 15,000 college graduates in 21 provincial-level regions, also reported that college graduates earn an average starting monthly salary of 3,378 yuan ($541).

Policy support

In a move to boost employment, the Chinese Government unveiled a string of preferential policies on May 13. In addition to encouraging college graduates to take on entry-level jobs and work in the country's less developed central and western regions, the State Council, China's cabinet, launched a program to support startup businesses from 2014 to 2017.

Highlighting a pledge to incentivize e-commerce startup businesses, a State Council circular said that college graduates who open online shops will be given small-sum guaranteed loans and interest subsidies.

As part of the support program, financial institutions were told to provide services that fit graduate entrepreneurs' needs. It also encourages enterprises, industry associations and angel investors to provide funding for student entrepreneurs through multiple channels.

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  Source: Beijing Review  2014-06-12

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