Forty-seven percent of Chinese college students graduating this summer had signed job contracts with employers by mid-June, a sign signaling the students face a tough time for job hunting.
According to figures released by the Ministry of Education Friday, the figure represented "a significant increase compared with that for May," but no details were given.
The situation was much better with students graduating from colleges and universities directly under the jurisdiction of the ministry.
Graduates of prestigious or leading institutions of higher education, were better off, as 78 percent of graduating students with these institutions had already found jobs.
For decades, students with college education have been generally in short supply, and a college diploma used to be a guarantee for employment.
But students graduating this Summer found themselves in a tough situation their predecessors never experienced: the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome made it impossible for face-to-face job interviews since April, and a drastic jump in job seekers while the demand for college graduates remains unchanged.
A total of 2.12 million college students are to graduate this year, 46 percent more than in 2002, as China begins to increase college enrollment by around 15 percent in a bid to give more young people access to higher education.
The central government has been working hard to help college students tide over the difficult time, including tax exemptions for businesses started by college graduates.
The Ministry of Education opened an employment website to help college graduates find jobs, which has drawn more than 200,000 hits. Various work units have posted over 60,000 vacancies through the website.
The Beijing municipal government also extended the deadline for sending graduates' documents from July to September, which gives college graduates two extra months for job hunting.
(Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2003)