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Li calls for more job channels for grads

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

10:04, May 16, 2013

A record 7 million college students are expected to graduate this year

Premier Li Keqiang called for more employment channels for college graduates on Wednesday to relieve the tough employment situation.

At an executive meeting of the State Council, Li said there is increasing pressure on employment this year because nearly 7 million students - a record number - will graduate from college.

The employment of college graduates is closely related to social stability and improvements in the economy and people's livelihoods, so effective measures should be taken to create more job opportunities, he said. "We should explore more employment channels and develop more job opportunities and guide college grads to work in small and medium-sized enterprises, non-public sectors and grassroots places."

However, many college graduates prefer to be civil servants or work for State-owned enterprises, said Zhang Yi, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Those sectors can only absorb a limited number of fresh college graduates, he said.

SMEs provide the most jobs for laborers, so more supportive measures in fields such as finance and taxation should be provided to help create more jobs for college graduates, Zhang said. Every single percentage point of GDP growth can help create 1 million to 1.2 million jobs, he added.

"So if SMEs, a major driving force for economic growth, can develop and help push GDP growth to 8 percent this year, another 10 million new jobs could be created," he said.

Universities should also adjust their majors and courses according to market needs, he added.

Zhang Kaiyuan majored in administrative management and will graduate from Xiamen University in Fujian province in July. Zhang said that of the 30-some students in his class, only four have found jobs.

"The employment situation is tough and many grads have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, and most of them want to work at large and famous companies," the 22-year-old said.

Zhang Yi said one of the reasons college graduates are reluctant to work at SMEs is because the government provides insufficient support measures for those enterprises.

The State Council meeting encouraged college graduates to start their own businesses. Local governments should also provide startup-related training subsidies, small loans and implement tax reduction and exemption policies for college graduates.

Chen Yu, director of the China Institute for Occupation Research at Peking University, said only a small number of college graduates choose to start their own businesses.

The government should provide more guidance for graduates who want to run their own business, he said.

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