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New job hunters have hard time
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-10 09:06

Like millions of job hunters, 22-year-old Ran Qing has been experiencing the chill of the labour market.

"I've attended nearly all major job fairs in Beijing and Tianjin to try to land a job since last September but have had no success," Ran, a college graduate who studied cosmetics in Tianjin, told China Daily.

She said there have been minimal opportunities for her at the fairs.

"I basically have no chance from the start."

She now plans to give up job hunting and pour all of her energy in preparing for the national master's degree entrance exam to be held at the beginning of 2005.

"Otherwise, I need to reduce my job expectations to match the tight labour situation," said Ran.

A total of 2.8 million extra university graduates are expected to flood China's already-crowded labour market in 2004. Last year, there were about 2.12 million graduates entering the job market but only 70 per cent have found work.

Laid-off and migrant workers also increase job pressures this year.

A study by the School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) indicated there will be 65 million job seekers in the cities but only 10 million new work opportunities.

"The job situation is unprecedentedly grave," said the school's researcher Zhou Tianyong, who was involved in the study.

Labour and Social Security Minister Zheng Silin also said job creation was as big a priority as economic growth.

"While trying to achieve our goals we should bear in mind that at all times creating more jobs is high on the government's agenda," he said.

Personnel Ministry statistics indicate that in the October-December period last year, job markets in 37 major cities across the country registered 2.371 million jobs and 5.106 million job seekers, up by 27.8 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively over the same period of 2002.

The number of posts offered in Beijing in the fourth quarter declined by 21 per cent on a quarterly basis while those in other big cities, like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin, increased by 30 per cent over the same period.

People with college and high school degrees made up most of the job-hunters while those with post-graduate degrees only accounted for 1.6 per cent of the total.

The top 10 professions on the recruiting list were those related to marketing, mechanical and electronic engineering, computer science, architecture, economics, enterprise management, administration, finance and accounting. They accounted for 91 per cent of the total jobs and attracted about 80 per cent of the total job seekers.

The statistics also show continuing demand for applicants with marketing, management, computer science and architecture backgrounds in western China.

To help migrant workers get decent jobs in cities, the State Council, China's cabinet, decided that during the next seven years, about 70 million migrant workers will receive basic training and many will get additional professional training.

The elementary training is expected to give potential migrant workers basic information about their rights, laws, regulations and city life, in addition to job hunting skills. The professional training will focus on sectors like housekeeping services, restaurant and hotel services, healthcare, construction and manufacturing.

Funds will be allocated to the plan by both the central and local governments at all levels.

About 300 million yuan (US$36.1 million) will be earmarked by the central government this year to train migrant workers. Last year's investment was just 50 million yuan (US$6 million).

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