Job market blues

Updated: 2013-06-18 08:35

(China Daily)

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Fresh college graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to get a job. A recent study shows that the situation could become worse if youths stick to the traditional concept of job hunting, says an article in Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

After the higher education reforms in 1997, the number of students graduating from colleges every year increased from 1.14 million in 2001 to nearly 7 million in 2013. But China's economic structure remained concentrated on labor-intensive industries during the period. And as we know, the industrial structure of a country has a direct bearing on the employment market.

The development of knowledge-based industries was stifled in China after it became the "world factory". Moreover, frequent policy interventions from local governments have aggravated the situation that has been created by the mismatch of resource distribution. For example, many local governments, keen on increasing their revenues, concentrate their efforts on developing the property market instead of encouraging knowledge-oriented companies that can create more white-collar jobs.

As a result, the number of jobs created every year is disproportionately fewer than the number of students enrolling in colleges. Some college graduates have settled for blue-collar jobs after been unable to find white-collar jobs, though. And the change in their attitude owes a lot to necessity and the lack of government support.

Given China's waning demographic dividend, the cost of labor will increase, and blue-collar workers will no longer be subjected to low salaries and, instead, become part of the middle-income group. As more college graduates take up blue-collar jobs, they will improve the status and prospects of blue-collar workers.