It's not a career people are dying to get into, but the organizers of an upcoming job fair would like to change that.
Twenty-three funeral houses, cemeteries, funeral products suppliers and services agencies want to recruit the talents of new college graduates this Saturday.
"With the development of the society, the industry is changing as well. We need marketing professionals to tell people the new and environmental-friendly way of burial," said Wang Hongjie, with the funeral and crematory division of the city's civil affairs bureau.
Nearly 400 posts as salesmen, managers, service planners, architects and cosmeticians will be offered to university graduates at the job fair, the biggest of its kind in the city, providing employment in a bad economy and finding talent for an industry that most find too morbid to enter.
"I had to often reassure myself again and again that I am a kind person and no ghost, if there are such things, will hurt me," said Jin Peiji, a 25-year-old cosmetician at Minhang district funeral house. She was so scared when she first took the job in 2004 she had to take sleeping pills at times.
She admitted that many hesitate to take jobs in the industry because they find it scary and believe it could bring bad luck.
There are only three schools in the country offering these types of programs, while Shanghai and many other cities in the country are seeing an increase in the aged population.
By the end of 2008, 22 percent of the city's nearly 14 million permanent residents were over 60 years old. By 2025, it's expected that will rise to about 33 percent.
"As we have new types of burials, new technologies and facilities and new lifestyle, we need architects to design our cemetery, to plan the services and to use our facilities."
Still, few are willing to make the jump despite the fact that the industry offers a higher than average salary.
"The salary differs at different companies but still higher than average in order to attract people," Wang said.
For a makeup artist, for example, the starting payment is up to 3,000 yuan per month. The average monthly salary in Shanghai in 2007 was 2,892 yuan.
A manager with Yishan Funeral House in Minhang district said there are only 10 cosmeticians at the house, which is far from enough, according to Shanghai Morning Post. "It's our social responsibility to offer jobs at the moment," he said. "And most companies in the industry are in lack of talents."
Wang said it was difficult to forecast whether many would come to the job fair, which will be held from 9 am to 5 pm at West Zhongshan Road.
"But I believe once they come to work in the industry and conquer the initial fear, they will want to work for a long time," he said.
Source: China Daily