This year, nearly 6.99 million students will graduate from college, an increase of 190,000 compared with 2012. This number is the highest since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
This year, nearly 6.99 million students will graduate from college, an increase of 190,000 compared with 2012.[File photo]
One of the most important indexes of employment, the job contract signing rate, is on a downward slope compared with last year, indicating 2013 will be a tough year for graduates. Up to May 1, the job contract signing rate in Beijing reached 33.6 percent, up 5 percent from April's figures. These numbers are not just mere figures; they actually represent the real stories of graduates in desperate search of employment.
Due to the rapid expansion of college admissions, the number of graduates has almost quadrupled in just one decade, outrunning China's economic growth. The Chinese College Graduates' Employment Annual Report, published by MyCOS.com.cn, shows that in 2013 the job contract signing rate of postgraduates stands at 26 percent, down 9 percent compared with last year; the numbers for undergraduates and junior college students are 35 percent and 32 percent, down 12 percent and 13 percent respectively compared with last year.
As the graduation date approaches, the job contract signing rate will rise. An official with Beijing's Education Department explained, "Right now, it is not that the graduates do not have job offers, but many of them are waiting for the most fulfilling one."
There are two main reasons for this slower pace in job signing. Graduates face quite a choice during the graduation period. However, a considerable number of graduates are not eager to join the job market, and instead choose to pursue their academic dreams, either at home or abroad. Estimations show nearly 20 percent of Beijing graduates take this road. Years ago, a bachelor degree certificate was the magic key for many Chinese graduates to a high-paid job; nowadays, however, this no longer suffices. More and more graduates tend to pursue a master's or doctor's degree.
The other reason is that the job market this year is tough. As China struggles to transform its economy, GDP growth has been reduced from almost double digits to just around 7 percent; and every one percentage drop means more than one million jobs wiped out. In 2013, job vacancies for graduates in Beijing stand at 98,000, a year-on-year decrease of 14 percent. From the macroeconomic perspective, the economic prospect has a great deal to do with the graduate employment rate.
Since 2012, majors in English, law, computer science and technology, accountancy, international economy and trade, and business management have been ranking high among jobless undergraduates. Mo Rong, vice president of the Institute of Labor Science, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of People's Republic of China, points out that universities in China are churning out more and more accounting and law graduates, whereas the accounting and law firms do not need that many.