Text by Lin Yuan
Along with the summer heat wave comes China’s annual graduation season, a time when focus tends to turn to the employment situation for new graduates. According to the latest statistics released by China’s Ministry of Education,university graduates reached nearly 7 million this year, about 200,000 more than last year – China’s largest class of university graduates ever. However, due to the nation’s slowing economic growth, the massive group is facing an employment market which is down 15 percent from last year.
The under-employment situation,caused by a human resource imbalance,is most glaring in Beijing, where 229,000 graduating seniors are receiving diplomas this year. As of the end of April, less than 30 percent of them had signed employment contracts, and many accepted an extremely low salary just to get anything. A recent survey revealed that the average expected monthly salary for new graduates dropped to 3,683.6 yuan (US$614), down by a startling 2,000 yuan ($333) compared to 2011.
Stunned by the current disappointing employment data, university graduates and their parents, who certainly recall how much family pride and employment demand a diploma inspired in the 1980s, can’t help but blame the expansion of university enrollment since 2003. In the last decade,university graduate employment has been a debated social issue every year. Today,even though a bachelor’s degree no longer guarantees a position or decent salary, the majority of students and their parents still see no option other than crowding onto the “university bridge” with everyone else.
As more and more university graduates experience the awkward situation of unemployment after graduation, a shortage of skilled workers is simultaneously becoming more prominent. The Wuhan Railway and Bridge Technician School (WRBTS) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, recently announced that they were relaunching their “class for university graduates,” which had been suspended for the past two years, and admitting 100 university graduates.