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Shortage of Jobs to Affect Many Graduates
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China's university graduates are braced for gloomier employment prospects next year as the number of graduates will reach a record high of 4.95 million, according to the Ministry of Education.

Spokesman Wang Xuming said next year's number of university graduates will represent a rise of 820,000 over this year.

"Given the already grave employment situation in the countrythe employment pressure on university graduates will be obvious," he told a regular press conference.

Based on the average employment rate of 70 percent for university graduates upon graduation, more than 1.49 million of them may become jobless next year.

To address the problem, the ministry has asked universities to give top priority to better employment services for graduates in 2007, the spokesman said.

"The employment rate will be one of the crucial criteria to evaluate a university, and any cheating in the figure will be severely punished," he said.

He added that the employment rate will be considered in next year's recruiting plan, which is being drafted by the ministry.

But he also noted that the present 5-10 percent growth in university enrolment is a "normal rate" for the development of the educational industry.

Liu Yuebo, director of the Employment Service Office of Nankai University, a key national university in Tianjin, said the increasingly competitive job market has prompted his university to make greater efforts to help its students find jobs in recent years.

Every year starting from the summer, the office makes countless phone calls to major companies and institutions across the country, enquiring about job information or inviting them to come and recruit students on campus.

"Companies have been entering campus (for recruitment) earlier and earlier each year to grab the most talented graduates," Liu said.

Liu said since this summer, some famous companies, such as P&G, LG and Microsoft, have set up respective "Elite Clubs" in the university as a way to reserve future employees.

"The university, short of teachers with professional experience, cannot offer enough courses on practical skills and career planning to students," Liu said.

"The training and activities organized by the companies in Elite Clubs can effectively make up this deficiency and equip students with broader horizons and knowledge of enterprises."

Xing Lifang, vice-dean of the university's University of Foreign Languages, said almost all students will eventually find jobs.

"Many students still have a craze for metropolises in the eastern part of the country, such as Beijing, Shanghai and some coastal cities. They also want to work for big employers, such as famous companies, ministries in the central government and national media," Xing said.

"But when they come to terms with reality, most of them can make adjustments and successfully find jobs in other places."

(China Daily November 29, 2006)

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