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Jobless college graduates trigger concern

Updated: 2012-11-07 08:42
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - A report indicating that one in eleven college graduates have been jobless for a year has raised public concern and caused heated discussion among the country's Internet community.

In a blog, Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Center, quoted a "2012 Graduate Employment Report", which showed that 570,000 of 6.8 million college graduates in 2011 remained jobless one year after graduation.

Among them, more than 100,000 neither go to school or work nor receive vocational skills and rely on support from their parents. This is known as the NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) group .

Xiong blamed university education for not preparing students for China's fast-developing society and high demanding employers.

The lack of career planning and aimless job searching are two reasons why so many college graduates cannot get work, with many more developing a job-hopping habit, he said.

The educationist's blog sparked debate about university education.

On China's major Twitter-like microblogging website, about 151,000 posts commenting on the topic could be found as of Tuesday afternoon.

Some back Xiong's opinion, saying there's a growing gap between what a university teaches and what employers need.

"Companies want to hire a person who can get the job done on the first day of work, but few graduates can," wrote a netizen identified by the screen name "Silver Fox".

Head of an advertising agency himself, the microblogger said he was tired of listening to job applicants and how they obtained their first-class scholarships and successfully led the student union for four years, only to find out they do not know how to send a fax.

"College graduates may know theories from books, but they don't know how to put them into everyday work," wrote "Jingjing."

Zhang Chunxia, who works for the career center of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the facility has introduced courses on career planning and development. It has also invited alumni with established careers to deliver speeches to prepare students.

"I find those who work as university counselors and volunteer teachers, or start their own businesses are more confident than their peers as they know where their strengths lie," said Zhang.

Wu Ying, a graduate of Beijing Foreign Studies University, returned this September to pursue a master's degree after being NEET for one year.

"It's a vicious circle. You cannot find a job so you go back to school. Then you know less about the job market and still can't get a job when you graduate for a second time," said Wu.

Some Internet users said many college graduates who grew up post-1980s have a narrower definition of a "good job" than the older generation. Many would rather stay at home jobless if they failed to get stable or high-paid job.

"I was shocked when learning that more than 3,000 college graduates applied for a street cleaner's job in Harbin, just to become an employee at a government-affiliated institution," said a user "Valderfield."

The craze for government jobs remains red-hot this year as businesses create fewer jobs in a slowing economy. A record 1.5 million candidates submitted online applications for about 20,000 government jobs in the upcoming national civil service recruitment tests, according to the State Civil Servants Administration.

"If young people only consider government jobs as secure and decent, they lose an opportunity to enjoy life," wrote "Xiangzuounique."

More graduates are opting for a gap year after graduation as a buffer to job-hunting. Among them is Zhong Shan, a graduate from Fudan University, who went to Sichuan province in western China to teach rural children.

"It enriches my experience," he said. "But the reality is that I still have to face the fierce competition in the labor market in the near future."

Jobless college graduates trigger concern