Every year, a number of devout graduates visit the Sleeping Buddha Temple on the outskirts of Beijing, praying for a decent job just because Wofosi, the name of the temple in Chinese, sounds like the English word "offers."
The number of people who turn to Buddha for help is due to rise as more than 4 million college graduates a record high make the job market more competitive and an ideal offer so hard to come by.
At a job fair yesterday at Peking University, about 8,000 students came from all over China to try their luck for the limited number of vacancies provided by more than 200 employers.
But to keep the site from being overcrowded, the organizer had to bar students from other colleges, some even from other provinces, until the afternoon.
Thousands of job-seekers, lined up for hundreds of metres outside the hall, became yesterday's most conspicuous scene on campus.
"I didn't expect the (employment) situation in Beijing to be so tough," said Yuan Li, a postgraduate from Southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Yuan, who studies manufacturing science and engineering, said she has attended several job fairs since she arrived in Beijing in mid-February, but has not received any ideal offers.
"I had thought my potential employer could give me a residential registration, but now I have to lower my expectations because there are too many job-seekers," she said.
"It has become impossible for those arriving from other provinces and graduates with only a bachelor's degree to expect a residential registration," she said, even though having that and a satisfactory salary were regarded as musts only several years ago.
Wen Weiyi, 25, a postgraduate of accounting from the Beijing-based China University of Mining and Technology, said the job situation is tough because the postgraduates who entered the three-year programmes in 2003 and those who entered the revised two-year programmes in 2004 will both hit the market this year.
"There are too many job-seekers and few openings provided by prestigious companies," Wen said.
But even with a competitive job market in cities, few students echoed the government's call to work as officials in rural areas for a few years and enjoy a number of preferential policies after they come back.
"It hasn't forced me to go that way," Wen said. Even though he has not received any offers, he said he would not give up and would land a job only in Beijing.
At yesterday's fair, the Shenzhen-headquartered Huawei Technologies Corporation was one of the most attractive employers.
Yang Jinxiang, personnel manager of the firm's Beijing research institute, said she had received about 200 CVs by 11:30 AM and expected more in the afternoon.
"The graduates came for our brand, our potential strength and the company's culture," she said, adding that most graduates do care about where they work and what kind of work experience they can get from the company.
(China Daily March 3, 2006)