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Graduates facing a battle for work
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Students graduating in 2009 will find it harder than usual to find work because of the global financial crisis.

For those not studying further, the job search has already begun, and career fairs will become regular fixtures in their lives, with dozens already staged by local universities and the city education department in the past week.

Huge crowds and long queues are seen at every career fair as students compete for comparatively few vacancies. The fairs at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics with 60 foreign businesses participating and at Shanghai Jiao Tong University with 61 state-owned businesses each attracted more than 5,000 applicants.

Huang Luwen, a student from Fudan University, has been searching for work for the past few months but is yet to find an opportunity.

"I started searching in September and have submitted over 30 applications but I have still not found anything," she said

Hoping to work in the luxury services industry, she feels that the problems of a tough job market are affecting her and many of her fellow students.

Some foreign banks and enterprises have stopped recruiting this year and students who majored in finance and business are expected to be affected, officials with Shanghai Education Commission said.

"Many companies have canceled workshops or recruitment activities on campus this year," said Liu Jianxin, the director of the careers center at Jiao Tong University.

In the month to the middle of November, 12 companies canceled workshops at the university.

Liu said that in the past few years many students received job offers in November but he did not know many students who had been offered employment so far this year.

As well as the global economic crisis, the increase in the number of students graduating has also contributed to employment difficulties.

Next year will see the number of students graduating in Shanghai hitting 158,000, an increase of 9,000 over last year. There is an 11 percent increase in the number of postgraduate students from last year - 29,000.

Facing fierce competition for few vacancies, many college students have lowered their salary expectations by between 1,000 yuan (US$146.4) and 2,000 yuan.

Schools have also strengthened career counseling to students.

They are now preparing sophomore and junior students for the future job market. East China Normal University and Jiao Tong University have set up internship bases in businesses to provide more opportunities for their students.

Local graduates are advised to have full understanding of the current situation and broaden their scope by looking for jobs in other cities.

(Shanghai Daily November 24, 2008)

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