China Focus: Job-hunting moves online to ease employment pressure amid epidemic



Despite the COVID-19 epidemic and downward economic pressure, Chen Yijie, who is to graduate this summer but has been stranded at home, still managed to find a dream job as a technical engineer through online recruitment. "I was not too nervous in the video interview. Compared with face-to-face talk, I felt more relaxed at home," said Chen, an undergraduate student from Hefei University of Technology (HFUT) in east China's Anhui Province.

To help this year's graduates find jobs amid the epidemic, the university has launched an online campus recruitment platform to provide personalized services to each student based on their information registered in the system, including age, major, preferred locations and jobs.

"Nearly 1,500 companies have joined the platform and released recruitment information. We have also organized four major online job fairs so far, attracting more than 200,000 clicks altogether," said Ding Zhaogang, director of HFUT's employment guidance office.

It is on this platform that Chen went through each step, from submitting his resume to attending interviews and accepting the job offer, from the comfort of his own home without long-distance traveling.

A total of 437 students have found jobs through the platform since Feb. 17, pushing the employment rate to 51.47 percent for more than 10,000 graduates at the university, about the same level compared with a year ago, according to Ding.

China expects to see a record of 8.74 million college graduates this year, 400,000 more than last year. The COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing economic fallout have added more pressure on the already-competitive job market.

Just months away from graduation, both job seekers and recruiters are resorting to the internet, or cloud recruitment, as China pledges to stabilize employment amid the epidemic.

Most companies have moved their recruitment process online since school openings are postponed, and students are trapped at home. Traditional on-site job fairs have been canceled to avoid mass gatherings.

"Our target is to recruit 2,500 new graduates this year, of which 42 percent have been completed, and most were recruited online. We have received over 77,000 resumes so far," said Hong Guangdong, a recruitment director of BOE Technology Group Co., Ltd, a leading semiconductor display company in China.

To let potential candidates better know the jobs, the company has arranged dozens of live streaming promotional sessions on Douyu, a live-streaming website in China, attracting nearly 20,000 viewers each time, said Hong.

However, he admitted that the epidemic had made this year's recruitment harder than ever, as it is impossible to invite students to tour the company or even intern at the company.

Unlike BOE, which has resumed production, a proportion of companies across the country have suffered huge losses from the lengthy business suspension, which has resulted in fewer job opportunities in the market.

To facilitate the employment of college graduates, the country has rolled out a series of measures, such as expanding the enrollment of postgraduates and degree top-up programs, creating more jobs of medical and social services at the community level and strengthening support for micro and small enterprises to recruit more college graduates, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting held in late February.

The enrollment of master's degree students in China is likely to increase by 189,000 this year. Meanwhile, the country's bachelor's degree programs will strive to admit an additional 322,000 junior college students in 2020, said Vice Education Minister Weng Tiehui.

The Ministry of Education has also launched a 24-hour online campus recruitment program together with five major job-hunting websites last month to help graduates find jobs. The program offers more than 2 million job positions to university graduates.

"Based on our statistics, about 10 to 15 of our students receive job offers per day. We are confident that most students will find an ideal job by graduation as long as they are well prepared," said Ding from Hefei University of Technology.