Employment gap

Updated: 2013-08-19 07:58

(China Daily)

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Although China's job market showed resilience in the first half of this year, the problem of creating enough jobs for graduates remains a hard nut to crack.

It is being called the hardest job-hunting season ever for graduates, as nearly 7 million of them swarmed into the job market this summer, adding to the country's job creation pressure amid the ongoing economic slowdown.

It has become increasingly difficult for college graduates to secure a job in recent years. Given the accumulated number of college students who graduated in previous years and failed to find a job, the pressure is growing.

According to the Blue Book of China's Society in 2012, compiled by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, about 9 percent of graduates in 2008 couldn't find a job on leaving college. In 2011, 17.5 percent failed to find employment,.

When China's economic growth rates were as high as 10 percent it was relatively easy for graduates to find work. But growth has slipped to 7.5 percent this year, and there are few signs that there will be a major pick-up any time soon.

The macroeconomic situation is making job creation more difficult.

However, the authorities have a clear picture of the difficulties facing young job seekers. Premier Li Keqiang told college graduates that they should not just be content with looking for a job but should consider starting their own businesses when he met students in Lanzhou University on Sunday.

The government has already launched a series of schemes to help graduates, including offering more consultation and training services for graduates, providing favorable policies for enterprises to hire more college graduates, and encouraging college students to start their own business.

Those measures will surely ease the tension in the job market. But it will be almost impossible for the economy to fully absorb all the unemployed graduates in the short term, because the problem stems, in essence, from the explosive growth of the number of college graduates in recent years thanks to the country's college expansion program that started 10 years ago.

In 2001, China had 1.15 million college graduates. Now the number is more than six times that.

It is crucial, therefore, that the economy continue to grow at a rate high enough to gradually bridge the employment gap.