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Higher Degree No Guarantee of Better Jobs

Human resources experts in Tianjin say that a higher degree does not necessarily lead to better jobs.

In the northern port city of Tianjin, graduates with bachelors degrees or even those with diplomas only sometimes prevail over masters and doctorate graduates in the job market, say human resources specialists from the local labor markets.

Statistics they cited show that less qualified employees make up over 90 percent of staff in local firms and administrations, whereas those holding masters degrees or doctorates account for only four to five percent.

While further education is crucial for those who hope to become researchers in high-tech fields or expert actuaries, economists or linguists, those majoring in more practical fields such as accounting or fashion design may find jobs easily without having to attend graduate schools, experts say.

As the competition is increasingly high for candidates applying for the very limited slots at graduate schools in China, experts say that students should take a long-term perspective and prepare themselves for the job market.

"In the long run, what matters are not your degree, but your capacity and skills," says a recruitment officer at a Tianjin labor market.

Experts suggest that if a liberal arts student seeks further schooling, it would be better if he takes up a different field to broaden his knowledge and skills.

"For example, a journalism or English major may now concentrate on economics or law," says the recruitment officer.

Long queues of candidates are gathering at graduate schools across the country this week as schools start to receive applications on Monday for the admission test scheduled for January, 2004, an all-too-familiar view for the Chinese people who are keen on furthering their education in order to succeed in a market economy.

Among the candidates are senior students who are expecting their bachelor's degrees next year, but are either seeking to bolster their research capacities or postpone having to face the tougher tests of the job market, as well as earlier graduates who wish to pursue further schooling to boost their career development.

Chinese universities and colleges reported 490,000 postgraduate students in 2002. The figure is expected to top one million by 2005.

(Xinhua News Agency November 12, 2003)

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