Hot majors cool down along with job market

17:12, June 03, 2010      

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Job-seeking graduates crowd to visit booths of companies at a job fair in Beijing, February 25, 2010, file photo. [Photo/Agencies]
Some once-hot majors like English, Computer and Law for Chinese students entering college have now fallen out of favor as more graduates studying in those fields end up jobless, according to a report released Wednesday by a think tank in Beijing.

College students majoring in Law, Computer Science and Technology, English, International Trade, Business Administration, Chinese Language, Information Technology and Accounting became the most unemployed graduates for three years in a row, from 2007 to 2009, said the report.

The employment report on Chinese graduates, known as the Employment Blue Book, is an annual report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. MyCOS HR Digital Information Co, a consulting firm on higher education, has been studying the employment situation of Chinese graduates since 2006.

This year, MyCOS surveyed a sample of 500,000 college graduates from 2009 and received 220,000 questionnaires back for the 2010 report.

Among the unpromising majors, Law graduates had the most difficulty finding jobs, with the highest unemployment rate of 17.7% in 2009. English majors had the highest number of unemployment for three years, with 15,700 graduates still out of work.

"Such majors as Computer, English and Law were the most popular ones for Beijing students entering universities in 2005, but now these graduates are in a tight corner," said Ba Ran, a senior vocation counselor at Zhilian Zhaopin, a well-known human resources service company, in an interview with Beijing's Legal Evening News.

Ba said that the expansion of college enrollment for those hot majors five years ago has resulted in an over-supply in the market, making it harder for those graduates to find jobs.

"It is very difficulty to find a job related to my major in Beijing, even though I got a high score to pass the post-graduate entrance exam two years ago," said Gao Qian, an English major graduating from the Beijing Institute of Technology this summer.

"But anyway, I've got a job as a high school teacher with the help of my family. I'll leave Beijing and return to my hometown in Shandong province after graduation," she said shrugging her shoulders.

On the other side, engineering graduates majoring in Geological Engineering, Ship and Marine Engineering, Petroleum Engineering and Mining Engineering are the most welcomed in the job market, according to the report.

Engineering majors are more practical in professional skills and work experience, which are favored by many employers. The graduates are thus armed with a competitive advantage in the fierce job market, according to Ba.

The report suggested a readiness system be set up against majors with a high risk of unemployment. Undergraduates studying Law or English are encouraged to change their majors or obtain a second degree.

For some graduates having difficulty in securing employment or some colleges and provinces with incompetent operation and low employment rates, the report advised a cut in recruitment numbers or even a halt in enrolling students.

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