China graduate crisis

5th August 2011 at 01:00

China's booming economy means it has low levels of unemployment. But it is grappling with a new problem of graduate competition for jobs.

It now has six times as many graduates as a decade ago - over six million in total, which is the highest number of graduates in the world.

This year, more than 1.4 million people applied for 16,000 civil service jobs. Chinese authorities are now trying to slow down the expansion of higher education.

"They realise it's a problem to produce students with high expectations," said Zhang Dong Hui, an associate professor of public policy at Renmin University in Beijing.

Some private sector employers, meanwhile, believe that many Chinese graduates are not good enough for their needs.

Xie Yan, a property developer, said: "Many of these graduates have learnt a lot of very sophisticated stuff. But, in fact, they have no specific skills. The ability of some graduates can't even compare with that of a craftsman."

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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