In a year when a record 10.76 million graduates stream out of colleges, China is going all out to help them enter a workforce amid COVID-19 pandemic.
This job-hunting season may prove challenging for graduates due to COVID-19-hampered job interviews and lukewarm demand for fresh labor, said Wu Aihua of the Ministry of Education.
China's surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.9 percent in May, official data showed. The rate among those aged between 16 and 24 was 18.4 percent.
College graduates are deemed a key target of China's employment-first policy. China has launched a series of pro-employment campaigns to move job interviews online, incentivize firms to increase their employees and open the doors of big cities wider to college graduates.
On May 16, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security initiated a nationwide online recruiting platform that will last till August 25 to promote over 10 million openings, give occupational training lessons and offer employment counseling.
By June 5, around 340,000 employers had posted 9.77 million openings on the platform, which also facilitated many on-the-ground events. The northern Chinese city of Gaobeidian, for instance, invited seven companies to livestream to graduates of Hebei University with 50,000-strong views.
About 2,255 universities had made contact with around 77,000 employers up to Friday and added 1.41 million jobs and 566,000 internship posts, official data showed.
These platforms and events allow job seekers fresh out of college to browse for hiring information the way they "shop at supermarkets," said a graduate.
"With the help of various employment platforms, the demands of employers and college graduates are effectively aligned," said Zou Yongping, a human resources specialist at a Jiangxi-based agricultural firm. The company plans to hire 1,500 people this year and is knee-deep in arranging interviews.
On the hiring front, companies nationwide are encouraged to expand their staff. East China's Jiangxi Province, for example, subsidizes employers 1,500 yuan (about $223.5) for each new employee they sign on. In northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, 222,800 employees had brought employment subsidies of 509 million yuan to their employers by the end of May.
Local governments are also chipping in for business ventures of college graduates, with Jiangxi handing out a sum of between 5,000 and 10,000 yuan to each young entrepreneur running registered individually owned businesses for longer than six months.
Chinese cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen moved fast to attract talent, especially fresh graduates from domestic and foreign universities. Their measures include eliminating residential registration requirements, rental waivers and even subsidies for starting businesses and home purchases.
The moves to stabilize employment for college graduates will help many find work in this job-hunting season and equip them with stronger professional skills to excel in the longer term, said Yao Kai, director of a research center at Fudan University.
China aims to create over 11 million new urban jobs and keep a surveyed urban unemployment rate of no more than 5.5 percent in 2022, according to a government work report.
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