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New Trends in Employment of China's Graduates
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A new national survey on the employment of China's graduates in 2005 was released on February 13, said the China Youth Daily on February 13.

It is an important part of "Development of Higher Education and the Labor Market in China"– the main research task of the previous five years – led by Prof Yue Changjun, vice dean of the Education and Economy Department at Peking University.

The survey, which included 34 universities and colleges in 16 provinces, involved 21,220 graduates. Of those interviewed 78.5 percent are regular college students and 16.6 percent graduates from training colleges.

This is the second time Professor Yue has led the national survey on the employment of China's graduates. The previous survey was in June 2003. A number of new trends are identified in the survey:

Average monthly income increases.

According to the survey in 2003 graduates valued the room for personal development most and after that came income and welfares.

Income provides the key indicator and reflects the general employment position. Compared with the survey of 2003 the latest findings show the average monthly income has reached 1,588 yuan (US$198.5), 37 yuan (about US$4.6) higher than before.

The 2005 survey shows that 20.3 percent of graduates earn less than 1,000 yuan (US$125) a month – 20.6 percent lower than the 2003 figure. Students whose monthly incomes are between 1,001 yuan (over US$125) and 2,000 yuan (US$250) now stand at 65.4 percent – an increase of 19.9 percent.

The survey indicates that education is directly linked to the level of salary which can be achieved. A higher education is reflected in the "take home" salary.

The average monthly income for students from professional training colleges is 1,333 yuan (US$166.6). Graduates from universities achieve 1,549 yuan (US$193.6). Students with a Master's or a higher degree can expect between 2,674 yuan (US$334.3) and 2,917 yuan (US$364.6).

Compared with the 2003 survey the average monthly income of those with a Master's or a higher degree has fallen while salaries of other graduates have increased slightly.

The survey shows joint ventures and research institutes pay the highest salaries to their new recruits with state owned enterprises and private companies taking second spot while those working in education come third.

Smaller locations preferred

The level of competition for employment in big cities is so fierce that many graduates choose to seek work in some smaller towns and rural areas.

The figures show that 27.4 percent of students prefer to work in towns and the smaller cities. Rural areas appeal to 1.9 percent of graduates while 70.7 percent remain in municipalities – this figure is 5.9 percent down on 2003.

State-owned enterprises, schools and private companies are the top choices of graduates. The figures for these three preferred places of employment are 29.7 percent, 19.3 percent and 16.3 percent respectively. And the figures for the level of interest in joint ventures, state organizations and research institutes are 9.5 percent, 9.2 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.

The number of students wishing to gain entry to private enterprises is on the increase.  However, they have many concerns when applying for the posts in private enterprises since the Chinese insurance system for public health, retirement pensions and the like need to be improved.

Schools the most important information source

According to the survey, information available from schools remains an important resource for college students. About 47 percent of graduates indicated the most valuable and reliable information was provided by school's vocational guidance center.

Students – 3.8 percent – believe they can get enough information from the vocational guidance center while 59.4 percent felt the information provided is was only adequate. However, 36.8 percent disagreed with that finding. Compared with 2003 the level of dissatisfaction had dropped by 12.1 percent.

The success of "Job Fairs" has grown with 16.4 percent of people finding jobs through their attendance at such events. This is a rise of 8.8 percent on 2003.

( by Wang Ke, February 15, 2006)

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