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New Changes in College Students' Choice of a Job
Recently, college students’ employment has been a hot topic in China. Since the world economy is facing a severe downturn, the overall pressure on employment is increasing day by day. This year, about 1.45 million graduates from various universities will flood into the job markets, so that the employment situation for college students is no longer as optimistic as before. A survey conducted recently suggests that about 80 percent of college students listed "pressure in job-hunting" as their top headache.

At the climax of the period when college students are busy signing contracts with their prospective companies, a new look is being taken at the students’ job-hunting journey.

Employment First, Job-selection Second

Nowadays, at several job markets for college students, many fresh graduates seem to favor "employment goes first, job selection second." Take a Beijing college student surnamed with Lei, who comes from Henan Province, for instance; his choice for a career is journalism. However, due to the comparatively low demand for media personnel this year, he couldn’t realize his dream despite several attempts. Several days ago, he signed a letter of intent with a P.R company. "I have to stay in Beijing first, and I am sure there will be more opportunities for me in the future," he said.

Zheng Hongyu, a fresh graduate from Tianjin University, signed a contract with the Shipping Research Institution in Shanghai, and has gone through many related procedures for his employment. He said that he wasn’t familiar with the job he was going to take, and he still didn’t have a very clear understanding of his self-value. But firstly, he has to work to live. He is planning to accumulate some work experience, as well as money, from this first job. He strongly believed that, with a solid economic foundation and a more mature recognition towards himself, he would find a much better job in the future.

Facing employment pressure, most college students show their unique confidence and maturity. Most of them are advancing from the concept of a life-long job towards many jobs for life.

Miss Lu is a creative executive with an advertising company. In her view, to find a life-long job after graduation from college is a far too romantic idea. “While you are choosing a job, the employers are also choosing you. Graduation is only a first strategic step into society, and the real battle is just beginning. We cannot be too ideal all the time; instead, we should be realistic, at the same time, never giving up our ideals,” she said, with a touch of maturity.

Miss Lu graduated from a reputed university, upon her graduation from college several years ago, and was assigned to a commercial bank to handle basic counter work. However, she never complained, and, with her great potential and capability, she survived many drawbacks to find herself a niche where she really belongs.

Chen Xi, chief of the Graduate Employment Office attached to the Student Department of the Ministry of Education, said: "Only through practice can you make the right judgment on whether this job is suitable for you or not. One job for a whole life has already become a history."

Being Employed Gives Way to Opening an Enterprise

The "Sun-Seeker Software Development Company," which was officially established on Feb. 28, was set up by a group of new graduates from Shenzhen University. When asked what was the underlying power that encouraged these youngsters to come together and strive for a common goal, their answer was "interest and the sense of achievement." "It’s a bit lonely to surf on the Internet by yourself, but if some friends with similar life goals can get together, the communication between them will benefit all. Since working and making money can be combined, why should we take great trouble in seeking other jobs?" said these young and promising people.

According to a document issued by UNESCO, those college students nurtured in higher education should not only be job seekers, but also successful entrepreneurs or job-creators. In today’s knowledge-intensive economic era, many development opportunities are opening up for many emerging industries, such as information technology and biotechnology. In addition, China is giving more and more support to the self-employed. It’s the right time for such enterprises to take-off now.

SOHO Group Catches on New Trend

SOHO, the short form of small office, home office, represents those freelances working right at home. This kind of employment is catching on among college students.

Most of the graduate students this year were born at the end of the 1970s, and many of them are single children in their families. Unburdened with the financial pressure from their families, they seldom put money making as their top priority, therefore, enjoying much freedom to choose a SOHO type of life.

A history major graduate surnamed Li gave up the opportunity to work for a certain research institute in Beijing. He has a flair for writing, and photography is his favorite hobby. His plan is to use half a year to visit western China, doing some writing and photographing to broaden his horizons and enrich his life experience. Then, he will write for newspapers or magazines, or do strategy or designing for advertising companies and other businesses.

"I plan to take the entrance exam for graduate school next year. During the period of preparing for the exam, I will also take tests, for instance, for a registered accountancy certificate to make me better-prepared in this ability-respected society. I am sure all these efforts will add up to my strength to find a better job," said a fresh graduate student from a university in Beijing. He represents a large proportion of graduate students who share the same concept. In Nanjing Science and Technology University, among 2,466 graduates last year, about 16.5 percent chose to further their studies in graduate schools, and in Nanjing University, this percentage was 30 percent.

As for these changes in Chinese job market, related education departments say most employing units or companies are adopting a contract employment policy, and resignation and job-transfer has become a common practice for today’s youngsters. As for these fledgling graduates, the first job upon their graduation is not necessarily very important. They put more emphasis on the improvement of their own quality and put more considerations into their future development.

(China.org.cn by Feng Shu, June 24, 2002 )

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