LHASA: A university degree is no longer a passport to a steady job in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the last Chinese locality to axe guaranteed jobs for university graduates.
Despite the impact on the students, experts say the move will ultimately improve personnel training in Tibet and adapt it to the needs of the local job market.
About 2,730 three-year university graduates those who don't get a bachelor's degree upon graduation became the first group of Tibetan students to face the job market this summer, and about 700 of them were still looking for work, Purbu Cering, an official with the regional education department, told Xinhua News Agency.
Guaranteed jobs for all Tibetan graduates will be phased out next year, according to new regulations issued by the regional government in May to break the "iron rice bowl" of jobs assigned by the government.
Tibet staged its first ever recruitment fair for students last week in Lhasa, with 53 companies offering more than 700 openings for sales representatives, secretaries, IT engineers, tour guides and hotel staff.
"It's hard to adapt to the changes," said Tibetan University graduate Lhamo Cering as she passed around her CV.
Lhamo Cering has failed to secure a job since her graduation four months ago. "I've got to learn to be more sociable."
But Soinam Toinzhub, a senior student, said he loves the changes because "instead of being assigned a job, students are given more opportunities."
The regional capital Lhasa has offered training to prepare first-time job seekers for competition, said Dang Feng, an official with the city's labour and social security bureau.
He said about 356 graduates in Lhasa, about one third of this year's total, are still looking for jobs.
Employment was never an issue during the era of central planning, when only 1 per cent of secondary students gained entry to university and the government assigned everyone a job.
That system changed in 1988 with the first graduate job fair at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The last guaranteed job was axed in most Chinese cities in 2000.
Ministry of Education statistics show 4.13 million university students graduated this year, three quarters of a million more than last year.
The number of graduates in 2007 will be close to 5 million, about 1.24 million of whom will have no immediate job offers.
Source: China Daily