This year, there will be up to 8.74 million students graduating from colleges and universities, a year-on-year increase of 400,000. Including the graduates from last year, there will be a large group hunting for jobs. Now, it's a pretty critical period for college graduates to look for jobs. I'd like to ask for the opinions of ministers about the influence of the COVID-19 outbreak on their employment prospects? And what measures will the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security take to help their employment?
Thank you for your questions! The COVID-19 outbreak has indeed posed challenges to the employment of college graduates. As employment means a two-way selection, graduates need to meet their future employers via campus recruitment and social recruitment events. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has made the events impossible to be convened. To facilitate their employment, expanding channels of employment will be our priority. First, posts and channels should be made available. This is the key focus of our job. Together with other relevant departments, the education sector will endeavor to expand channels of employment through the following five aspects:
First, serve national strategies. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the job market, the booming development of emerging industries and transformation of traditional industries promise a great potential for job opportunities. We'll actively encourage college graduates to work for major national projects, programs, and key industries which have contributed quite a lot of jobs in the past. But I think the proportion is still not high enough, so we'll continue to work on expanding jobs in these fields. We believe after the epidemic our national strategies will demand more talents.
Second, increase job offers in key fields. We encourage recruitment in some key fields across the country, for example posts for teachers of primary and middle schools, in particular teachers for high schools and kindergartens. Since the reform of the college entrance examination, the country has faced a structural shortage of high school teachers. So we need to provide more posts of this kind. Meanwhile, we'll also ensure that all government-funded students of normal schools will find a teaching job and be incorporated into the authorized national teaching group system once they graduate this year. And we'll strengthen supervision on this aspect.
Third, we will guide graduates to work at grassroots work units. They are the main platform for absorbing graduates a great platform for young talents to reach their prime. The education sector will continue to implement the program to encourage university graduates to work at rural schools in poverty-stricken regions, and in the meanwhile cooperate with relevant departments to organize and implement grassroots employment programs to encourage graduates to head for the western region to support local development and rural areas to be village heads or work in agriculture, education, health care, and poverty-stricken sectors. At the same time, together with relevant departments, we'll introduce preferential policies to encourage small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) to employ more graduates. We can say those SMEs are the major employers for fresh graduates. Based on data of the past three years, almost 60 percent of fresh graduates chose to work for SMEs. Just now vice minister You also indicated that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and other departments have also provided guarantees of different kinds to SMEs to fuel their development. All these originate from decisions made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Better implemention of these policies will greatly boost employment of university graduates this year.
Fourth, encourage enlistment. We'll coordinate the National Defense Mobilization Committee of CPC Central Military Commission to help enlist more fresh graduates by optimizing distribution of quotas, bringing forward health examination and some other measures. Actually more than half of the enlisted servicemen each year are college students. This year the proportion will increase. Meanwhile, fresh graduates will be the key group for enlistment. In the past, all college students were eligible for the enlistment. This year, we'll take measures to encourage fresh graduates to be enlisted, who are also showing strong interest in being in the service.
Fifth, diversify employment modes. Currently, new employment modes are booming in our country, represented by tailored services, technological development, and paid online contents services. We encourage graduates to work in these productive and life services sectors as well as fields closely related to our livelihood like education, health care, and elderly care, which need more human resources. The Ministry of Education will continue to cooperate with other departments to expand more channels for employment. Thank you!
I'd like to add some words here. Their employment is related to the young college graduates' career prospects, family's well-being, and the country's future. This year, our country's fresh graduates will number 8.74 million, another record high. Coupled with the unemployed graduates of previous years, the total number is pretty large, creating quite high pressure. Last fall, when starting the recruitment campaign, together with the Ministry of Education, we rolled out a raft of policies and measures to facilitate their employment; we have also made the human resources and social security service available on campus quite early on.
However, the epidemic outbreak is exerting a quite big impact on college graduates' job hunting. These days happen to be the golden season for spring recruitment. There is the popular saying of "golden March, silver April." Now, the raging epidemic has led to the drop of the requirements for human resources in some fields and suspension of off-line recruitment events. Therefore, due to the frustration in their job hunting, many graduates have shown their anxiety. We sympathize with their feelings and are very concerned about the situation. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to employment of college graduates and President Xi Jinping in particular gave instructions, requiring efforts to ensure their smooth graduation and early employment. For that, coordinating with other departments like the Ministry of Education, we have swiftly adjusted and introduced a series of policies and measures to cope with the new changes in job markets.
First, expanding employment channels. We'll quicken the improvement and implementation of employment and entrepreneurship policies, to encourage companies to absorb graduates, guide graduates to work in the grassroots units, support some of them to start their own businesses, and facilitate their application for posts in governmental departments and public institutions, leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to aid their employment.
Second, optimizing recruitment services. We'll introduce more online recruitment events, and offer online guidance and counseling by organizing hundreds of career supervisors to present "cloud-based classes." Once the epidemic comes to the end, career service agencies and market service institutions of all kinds across the country will be mobilized to introduce specialized on-site employment activities in high density.
Third, expanding probation opportunities. This year and next year, we plan to organize millions of graduates to work for trial period, trying to enrich their work experience, improve their eligibility for employment, and enhancing their competitive capacity in the job market. For enterprises that provide such posts, they'll receive policy subsidies for 3-12 months.
Fourth, emphasis on targeted help. For those graduates who have not found jobs after leaving their schools, they can register with the education authorities that will provide them targeted help with focus on those graduates from a registered poverty-stricken household or a family with no one holding a job.
Meanwhile, we'll always give focus to graduates of Hubei's colleges and universities and those from Hubei. We'll actively cooperate with the relevant departments to take targeted assistance measures to give them help and create equal employment opportunities for them. All in all, we'll do our best to aid our graduates to land their jobs or start their businesses, thus making them able to tap into their talent and realize their dreams. Thank you!