China / Society

Grad school graduates applying for menial jobs

By ZHOU HUIYING in Harbin and CHEN XIN in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-24 23:34

Job opportunities as cleaners and drivers at government-affiliated institutions in a Northeast China city have attracted more than 7,000 qualified applicants, including 29 people who have a master's degree.

District bureaus of urban administration and law enforcement in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, plan to recruit 457 workers including 120 cleaners, 307 drivers and 30 auto repairmen.

The city's human resources and social security bureau announced the recruitment project to the public in September and received some 11,500 applications. Nearly 7,200 are qualified for the positions.

People who secure the jobs will enjoy social security benefits equivalent to local government workers.

In China, civil servants and some workers at government-affiliated organizations do not have money deducted from their wages to pay their social security accounts. The government will cover their pension after they retire.

People from outside Harbin will be granted local hukou, the permanent residence permit, said local labor authorities.

A hukou carries the right to access a range of local public facilities such as education, subsidized housing, employment and social security.

Applicants should be under 30 and must have completed college.

Although the jobs on offer do not appear overly appealing, they have became quite sought after.

Among those who applied for the jobs and are considered eligible for the positions, nearly 3,000 hold a bachelor's degree and 29 hold a master's degree.

Applicants have to take an examination and be interviewed before they are hired.

Liu Yu, 29, who works at a private firm in Harbin, said he applied for the post of cleaner as soon as he heard about the recruitment.

Liu studied computer science at Jilin University and graduated in 2007.

"If I can pass the exam, I will become a staff member of a government-affiliated institution. The job is much more stable than what I am doing now," he said. "Maybe in the first few years the work will be a little hard and I am sure the job will bring me many challenges, but I will strive for the chance to promote myself."

It's not surprising that so many people with good educations are competing for cleaning positions, said Meng Lequn, an expert of sociology with Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.

"It shows that employment pressure has made many young people realize that they should seize every possible job opportunity," he said.

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