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College Graduates Lower Sights in Jobs Competition

China's ambitious college graduates are lowering their expectations in choosing their first jobs, driven by the intense competition on a job market that is saturated with high degree holders.

A growing number of graduates are taking up junior positions in the manufacturing and service sectors when they see a few chances for more desirable positions at government offices or research institutes.

Gone are the days of their parents, when a college education guaranteed a decent job with good pay in large cities.

Zou Guangfeng, a senior student at Lanzhou University in the northwestern Gansu Province, has decided to work as a shop assistant at a household electrical appliance firm in Lanzhou.

The journalism major said he could have got an offer from a local bank. "But they refused to recruit me even as a teller when I asked for a management position in the very first interview."

A shop assistant was not a desirable job in the traditional sense, Zou admitted. "But few of my future co-workers have received a college education," said Zou. "I'll surely have more chance of promotion as long as I work hard."

But Zou's schoolmate, Wu Xiangdong, a telecommunications major, has decided to start as a salesman on his own initiative.

"I'd rather gain more experience and lay a better basis for my future career development, though it's quite easy for a telecoms major to find a white-collar job now," he said.

In fact, most recent graduates have chosen to work as shop assistants, salespeople or junior clerks in the service sector, according to sources from the job market in Lanzhou.

Li Jing, an associate professor of education with Lanzhou University, believes it is an "irreversible trend" as higher education has become more accessible to the average Chinese youth. 

"Not everyone goes to college to become a scientist," she said." After all, college education aims to enhance the overall quality of workers."

But the younger generation have become more mature, driven by the intense competition on the job market, said Li. "They have learned to expect less from others and adapt faster to a fast-paced society."
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2003)

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