State Council aims to create work through loans, subsidies, policies
BEIJING - The State Council launched a series of measures on Wednesday to increase employment opportunities among this year's college graduates.
Through the initiatives, the government is encouraging graduates to consider setting up their own businesses. Grads seeking self-employment can apply for loans of up to 100,000 yuan ($15,400), said the State Council, China's Cabinet.
Provincial governments are being urged to provide favorable policies for graduates wanting to start up enterprises, such as offering subsidies or tax rebates.
The country will also boost employment by encouraging graduates to teach at rural schools. This will be supported by favorable policies. Research institutes will also be required to hire more graduates as research assistants. And graduates will be urged to join the army, the State Council said.
Measures will be taken to ensure medium-sized and small companies offer jobs to graduates. New job-seekers will also be encouraged to work in western regions of the country, remote rural areas and townships.
A total of 6.6 million students will graduate from college this year, 300,000 more than last year. China's top labor official, Yin Weimin, admitted in March that the employment situation facing them will be tough.
Yin Chengji, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said at a news conference in April that the ministry will prioritize the creation of jobs for college grads this year.
Chen Yu, director of the China Institute for Occupation Research at Peking University, said the raft of steps the government is taking shows its commitment to finding jobs for young people.
"Rural areas, especially in the western regions, are demanding college graduates. In the face of the tough employment situation elsewhere, graduates should be practical."
Although work in the western areas of the nation can be difficult, such jobs offer graduates more options and such grassroots work experience will be a great treasure for their entire lives, he said.
Chen said the idea of offering loans to graduates wanting to start their own businesses is a continuation of the government's earlier efforts to encourage more private enterprises among newly qualified people.
Chen said he is optimistic about college graduates' employment situation this year.
"Around 60 percent of graduates should find jobs before they leave school in July and more will be employed by the end of the year," he said.
However, some students who are going to graduate in the summer said they were still worried about their employment prospects.
"The employment rate released by the government is always higher than it seems to be to us," said Zhang Ling, a Beijing student who took the national exam for postgraduates earlier this year.
"Employers in big cities are only interested in postgraduates from elite universities, even though common college graduates would be capable of doing the jobs."
Li Mo, who graduated last year and who has lost three jobs since then, said grads can get a foot in the door but often find it difficult to land a permanent job.
"Some enterprises offer us positions as interns and make us believe there will be a job at the end of the internship and that contributes to the stats that show many grads leave and get a job," he said. "But we soon became unemployed after the so-called internship ends."
The employment rate among college graduates in 2010 increased by 4.2 percentage points year-on-year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Education.
As of July 1 last year, a total of 4.56 million graduates found jobs, accounting for 72.2 percent of all graduates in 2010.
Chen Xin contributed to this story.
(China Daily 05/26/2011 page4)