More than 8.7 million college students are set to graduate in China this year, about 400,000 more than last year. But they'll have to adjust their future plans in light of the current challenging times amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Job hunting takes skills and perseverance. Jiang Guangya, a postgraduate student majoring in Electronics and Communication Engineering at Beijing-based Tsinghua University, is weighing two options upon graduation: pursuing a doctoral degree abroad or focusing on his co-founded company – TC Air. Uncertain about the reopening date of his college, he's turning to developing his business for now.
Jiang established his enterprise in 2018 with his friend Li Zehui, a PhD candidate who specializes in environmental science and engineering. Instead of going abroad for a postdoctoral program, Li is moving to Peking University, also in the Chinese capital, for further research.
Zheng Haoyun is a master's candidate at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, who's also graduating this year. He hasn't returned to school due to the coronavirus outbreak. But with early planning, he landed a job at Li's company last fall, starting his role as a chip material engineer before graduation.
"I believe the impact of the pandemic will be temporary. The firms are still developing rapidly. For many students, they need to build up the confidence to find jobs," said Zheng.
Now, helping graduates find jobs or giving guidance for their next step is becoming a top priority for many universities. As of May 9, the overall employment rate for new graduates at Tsinghua University was nearly 60 percent. The school provides employment services, online recruitment and career development experience sharing. From March 16 to 20, the university held online job fairs together with 126 universities in Hubei Province, attracting more than 600 employers.
At the beginning of the year, online recruitment platform Zhaopin.com, in collaboration with the Youth Development Department of the Communist Youth League, held hundreds of online recruitment webinars across the country for free. Over 100,000 enterprises were invited to participate and more than a million posts provided employment assistance for graduates, especially those from poverty-stricken areas.
According to a report jointly released by the China Institute for Employment Studies at Renmin University of China and Zhaopin.com, due to the coronavirus pandemic, new hirings fell 16.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Yet, job applications were up over 69 percent. The Executive Vice President of Zhaopin.com Tim Li told CGTN that college graduates should be clear about their hobbies and skills, and match their expertise with their desired company's requirements.
China is on course to create more opportunities for graduates in the next three months, such as expanding enrollment for higher education and releasing more positions in the healthcare sector. As many students say, perhaps only those with persistence and clear goals will get job opportunities.