College graduates face gloomy job market Go back »

2008-12-23 | Nanjing

China's job market is starting to face uncertainties as a direct result of the global financial downturn. Many graduates are no longer so optimistic about their immediate prospects.

Statistics indicate more than 6.1 million college students will graduate and join the army of job seekers next year. That's 500 thousand more than this year. But the global economic downturn has forced some multinational and domestic companies to trim, or even cancel recruitment plans. This will certainly make it more difficult for students to find jobs.

Zhang Xiaojian, Vice Minister, Ministry of Human Resources & Social Security, said, "Graduates next year will outnumber those of this year. But the employment opportunities will be fewer as the number of recruits needed by employers will dive sharply. What the graduates are hoping for from the job market will unfortunately not correspond to the reality of the situation. "

Financial and management sectors have been hardest hit by economic turmoil at this year. And students who majored in Finance, International Business, E-Commerce, and Accountancy are finding it difficult to find jobs. Big foreign companies like Citibank, HSBC, Mogan Stanley have cut back or even ruled out any plans to recruit new talent. While fewer securities companies are looking for staff in China.

Some industries like finance, banking, and real estate have already decreased their demand for graduates. Export companies are also facing lower demand from abroad this year. And they're also cutting back on employment by as much as 30 percent on average. However, economic development in China has also generated strong demand for talented people to work in sectors such as oil, mining, mechanics, aerospace, nuclear power, railway, communication and agriculture. China's huge investment plan in railways is also providing many more job opportunities. It is estimated that 6 million more people will be needed to work in this industry.

Generally speaking, the demand for majors in science and technology is still growing steadily, while there is also strong demand for graduates in agriculture.

The vice minister of human resources and social security also said improvements in China's employment policies and services are undergoing.

College graduates are being encouraged to work in less developed western areas of China where many jobs are available. Those who have experience working in rural areas will enjoy favorable treatment at government recruitment organizations. The government is also encouraging college graduates to start their own business by offering them tax cuts and bank loans.

Following a report on CCTV about the expected tightening job prospects of graduates in China will face in 2009*, we asked HR Managers of Nanjing member companies about their recruitment plans for next year. The majority of members we asked stated that they will still recruit graduates in the upcoming year, although the number of vacancies that are going to be filled will be less than before. Howard Lu, HR Director at IVECO China commented that despite the increased pressure that is now faced by many companies as a result of the financial crisis, IVECO will not stop their recruitment in 2009. The company will react by requesting its departments to reconsider their staff needs, and is going to continue management trainee program. Mr. Lu stated that it turned into this also is good an opportunity to reevaluate their resources and optimize peoples' capacity.