As Economy Weakens, Frustration for Many at a Beijing Job Fair
More than 60,000 job seekers over two days flooded into a Beijing job fair this past weekend to compete for jobs.
The problem: Only about 10,000 jobs were being offered, offering a glimpse at the frustrations of many Chinese - many young and soon-to-be college graduates - looking for work. The government expects around 6.11 million college students will graduate from universities this summer, a 48% increase compared to the 4.13 million graduates back in 2006.
Jointly sponsored by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and three human resources companies, the job fair, entitled 'Creating Future Together,' boasted around 700 companies with open positions at the Beijing International Exhibition Center. But this year's job fair included fewer large, multinational companies. Most of the companies with jobs on offer were privately owned small or medium sized companies.
Yu Miao, a 24-year-old college graduate, was one job seeker. Since graduating from the Northeast Dianli University in the city of Changchun with a bachelor degree's in computer sciences last July, he has been living in a rented small apartment with a couple of his classmates in southern Beijing while looking for a job. Yu registered himself into a five-month training program in August during the slowdown caused by the Beijing Olympics, figuring nobody would be hiring during the Games and the skills would make him more marketable. But when the program ended, the economy had turned down and work had dried up.
Squeezing into the crowd Sunday, Yu came to the stand of the Beijing Founder Broadband Network Technology Co. to apply for a position as a computer engineer in its research-and-development department. However, after a brief talk with the interviewer, Yu was told not suitable for the job, and his resume was not accepted. Disappointed, Yu rolled up his resume in his hand and moved on. So far, only half of Yu's college classmates have found jobs, he said.
'Some of them are not satisfied with their jobs, but we don't have many choices. To have a job already is very lucky,' he said.
The small stand for Anta China Co., a famous sport shoe company in China, was surrounded by dozens of people. About 1,000 applicants ultimately applied for roughly 30 positions, one booth staffer said. Zhu Jianyong, a 23-old college student from the North China University of Technology, was one of them. Zhu wanted to apply for a position as a shoe designer, he said, but with his lack of experience he thought his chances were slim. 'I still feel like finding a job in a big or medium sized company with stronger capability to withstand the crisis, but it's really hard to find one that suits my major these days,' he said.
At the booth for Fantong.com, a Beijing-based company that operates a Web site that takes restaurant reservations, company representatives gathered 500 resumes over the two days. Total number of jobs the company had open: 20. Li Lei, the human resources manager for Fantong.com, said the company saw more highly-educated people applying for low-level positions than in previous years. Among the 500 applicants, Li said, only around 30 people were expected to go through further interviews with the company in the coming week.
After an afternoon wandering through the job fair, Ma Xinrui, a student at Beijing Union University, submitted only one resume, to a human-resources company called 51job.com. A computer science major, Ma instead hopes to land a job as a secretary or receptionist with a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan, or roughly $290. 'Most of the companies still require at least one year's working experiences for their applicants, putting fresh graduates in a very difficult position,' said Ma. She is going to graduate in July.