GUANGZHOU: College graduates will face unprecedented difficulties finding a job next year, thanks to the economic downturn, the Guangdong provincial education authority said Tuesday.
"The job market for graduates next year will be the toughest in three decades," Li Xiaolu, deputy director of the provincial education department, said.
Forty-four job fairs will be held especially for students graduating from colleges next year.
The number of job fairs will be 10 more than the last session, with the first starting on Saturday and the last on June 30 next year.
But the scale and the number of vacancies will be much smaller, Li said.
"Only nine of the 44 fairs will be comprehensive ones for all college graduates. The rest will be on smaller scales, open only to those who have majored in specific subjects such as finance and information technology," he said.
About 6.1 million students will graduate from colleges across the country next year, with 330,000 of them doing so in Guangdong - 40,000 more than this year - Li said.
Graduates from other provinces and those from Guangdong who could not find employment this year are expected to look for jobs in the province next year, he said. Their number would add up to about 500,000.
The other factor making the job market more competitive is the return (and likely return) of a large number of students studying abroad because of the global financial crisis, Li said.
Zheng Lili who spent five years for her two master's degrees in the UK is one such returnee.
"It's hard to find a permanent job in Britain now," Zheng said. "The number of vacancies is not enough for even the local people Foreign students are finding it very hard to find a job."
She has spent six months looking for a job after returning to Guangzhou in June. "The job market here is not optimistic either," she said. "During interviews, prospective employers are putting a lot of harsh conditions."
Lin Kaihong has returned from the UK to Guangzhou, and he, too, is looking for a job.
The collapse of many small- and medium-sized enterprises because of the financial crisis has made graduates' job of finding employment more difficult.
The situation in big cities seems no better because many companies even in the country's financial hub of Shanghai, where 150,000 students will graduate from colleges next year, have stopped campus recruitments.
Students majoring in disciplines such as foreign trade, finance, insurance and real estate will find it especially difficult to get a job, the local education administration said.
Graduates in subjects like computer technology and medical science, however, will have less difficulty.