Graduate recruitment suffers

Chinese university students are starting to feel the heat from the global financial crisis as French supermarket giant, Carrefour, Liby, HSBC and Citigroup amongst others reduce their graduate recruitment intake to cut costs.


Chinese university students are starting to feel the heat from the global financial crisis. French supermarket giant, Carrefour, has suspended graduate recruitment from Chinese universities saying they have more than enough candidates to fill what few vacancies are becoming available. And Carrefour is not alone, with Liby, HSBC and Citigroup all cutting graduate recruitment down to a minimum.


The last few years have been a boom time for China’s graduates, with salaries for University diploma holders accelerating much faster than non-graduates’. But now, fallout from the US sub-prime crisis has started to filter down to China’s job market, and work is becoming harder to find for China’s graduates. With the country’s economy dipping into single digit growth territory for the first time in six years in the third quarter, multinationals have become more wary of expanding their operations here.


“Not one bank or financial institution visited our campus this year,” University of Sichuan student Bai tells us, “so I have decided to study for another year, and hopefully by then, the economic situation will have improved.”


The unemployment rate among new graduates is expected to reach 15% in China this year - the highest since the government started allowing graduates to choose their own career paths in the 1990s. The number of graduates in China has tripled in the last ten years, increasing from 1.8 million to 6 million this year, but with the onset of the financial crisis, many more will be unable to find the jobs they want this year.


“The situation facing graduates is becoming alarming,” says Tang Xiaolin, graduate adviser at Fudan University. “Many sectors are suffering from this crisis, the auto-industry, the financial sector as well as export-dependent industries. Right now, many young Chinese who went abroad to study cannot find employment in the US or Europe and are having to return home to China.”


Many young Chinese are also having to live with unemployment or accept lower grades of job that pay less. “It’s not a major problem if I cannot find work directly related to my studies,” Fudan university accountancy graduate Wang tells us, “it is important that I just find work in order to increase my experience. I am ready to work for less than 2,000 RMB per month.” (200 euros)


Despite Wang’s, and others’, willingness to work for less, they may still find it hard to find employment. Analysts predict the job situation in China is going to get worse before it gets better, and many companies have either stopped recruiting or started laying off staff. More than half of the country’s toy factories have had to close in the last year, with thousands of people losing their jobs and it is a situation that is being seen across China. In the country’s industrial heartland of Guangzhou, 9,000 of the province’s 45,000 factories face possible closure, with the loss of some 3 million jobs – the country’s economy perhaps more affected by the financial crisis gripping the rest of the World, than China’s leaders would like to admit.


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