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Xi stresses role of employment as fresh graduates face weak market
President Xi Jinping paid an unexpected visit to a job fair in Tianjin on Tuesday, in a move that experts said reflects top leaders' concerns over the job market.
Xi arrived at a human resources center in the port city in the morning, surprising many students and company representatives.
"Employment is the basis of people's livelihood, and is also an issue confronting the whole world," Xi said when he visited the fair, Xinhua News Agency reported. "Without economic growth, the employment issue can't be solved."
Talking to village official Yang Daixian, Xi shared his secret for doing a good job - the capability to solve practical issues.
"Intelligence quotient and emotional quotient, which is more important? EQ is important for adapting to society, although it should be used together with professional knowledge and techniques," Xi said.
Zhou Xiao, a recruiter at a leading agricultural equipment manufacturing company, said she was surprised when she saw Xi appear from the crowd and walk toward her booth.
"He was very easygoing and just looked like a man of the people," she said.
Zhou said Xi spent about 20 minutes strolling around the fair and randomly stopped at booths, talking and shaking hands with the people.
The recruiter said she was looking for candidates with good English, both spoken and written, as well as a proactive attitude in work, which are vital for graduates to raise themselves above other competitors.
Zhang Zheng, an employee at Tiandy, a security monitoring manufacturer, said Xi stopped at her company's booth and asked about their recruitment plan and the values they are looking for in job candidates.
"Except for professional experience, candidates who have donated blood or have student association experience are preferred, since we believe that reflects a person's character and morality," she said.
Xi's visit was made in the wake of slowed economic growth and estimates that fewer jobs will be available for fresh graduates this year.
A recruiter in Tianjin said on condition of anonymity that many companies have slashed new positions this year.
Only 44 percent of Shanghai's undergraduate and graduate students had signed employment contracts as of Friday, a decline of 2 percentage points year-on-year, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said on Monday.
Zhang Yi, an expert in labor economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, attributed enterprises' decreasing demand for new human resources to the economic slowdown.
China's GDP saw a year-on-year rise of 7.7 percent in the first quarter of this year. The growth rate was 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter last year.
Nearly 7 million students will graduate from college in July and as of April 19 only 28 percent of graduates in Beijing had signed employment deals with employers. In Shanghai the rate was 29 percent, and in Guangdong province it was 47 percent, reported China Central Television.
Those figures were lower than previous years, according to the report.
"In the past, nearly 90 percent of graduates could find a job six months after graduation but I'm afraid the figure may only be 86 percent or so if the economy does not rebound in the later half of the year," he said.
The registered unemployment rate in urban China stood at 4.1 percent at the end of March, the same as at the end of last year, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. The figure does not cover unemployed fresh graduates.
Yu Ran in Shanghai contributed to this story.
(China Daily 05/15/2013 page3)