This week I was reading a story published on News.com.au about how difficult graduate jobs have been to find this year in Australia compared to a year ago. The sectors the article outlines as being hardest hit have been Accounting, Finance and Mining, with graduate job hunters now being lucky to receive a single job offer this year as opposed to potentially having multiple offers in these sectors in the previous few years. This got me thinking about the state of the graduate jobs market in other areas of the world and the biggest market that popped into my mind to investigate was China.
The state of the Graduate Jobs Market in China
The scale of Graduate Job hunters in China is just immense. There are approximately 6 million graduates finishing university every year making it extremely competitive amongst Chinese graduates fighting for a declining number of graduate jobs. The Chinese government has been implementing an initiative to increase the levels of education of the Chinese people however their economy is still largely focused around manufacturing which combined with the economic downturn is making it hard for graduates leaving university to find work. Things sound like they are going to be getting more difficult for Chinese graduates in years to come as well. On top of there being 6 million new graduates finishing university each year, there is a hangover of 1 million graduates from the previous year who still have not found work, as well as another 3 million graduates from years before still looking for work. An article from the Wall Street Journal shows that in the last 10 years there has been an increase in the number of Chinese university students of about 1 2 million per year so the shortage of graduate positions is likely to grow. The growth in student numbers is also proving to be a problem as faculties are not growing at the same speed making it more difficult to provide a high level of education to the increased student base.
Some Strange Hurdles for Chinese Graduate Job Hunters...
Some of the requirements for a graduate job in China can also be challenging. One conversation at a careers fair for a graduate technology sales role had a sign posted next to the stand outlining a height requirement of 172cm for men and 162cm for women in order to be eligible for the position. The sign also stated that applicants must be 'attractive'. When a graduate approached the company representative he was then asked 'how much can you drink' as drinking in the sales process is very important in Chinese culture. The interested graduate then said 'well I can drink 3 or 4 beers in a sitting no problem' to which the company representative replied 'I'm not interested in how many beers you can drink, I'm talking hard liquor here'.
Chinese Government Graduate Jobs
Due to the shortage of positions there has also been a huge increase in the number of applications to work for the Chinese Government and by increase I mean there have been an additional 130,000 applications made by graduates bringing the total number of applications to 775,000 in 2008. These applications have been made for only 13,500 graduate jobs so there is only 1 job per 60 or so applicants. So in short the global economy is making things tough in Australia for Graduate Job hunters but spare a thought for the millions of Chinese grads struggling to find work over the next few years. Check out the video below if you can for some extra info on the subject provided by the Guardian newspaper.