Jobs key to tapping grads’ development potential


Life in China has gradually returned to normal after the government eased the strict pandemic prevention and control measures while introducing an array of policies to promote employment and boost the economy. Yet the domestic economic recovery is hampered by the slowdown of the global economy and other challenges.

Amid all this, the number of college graduates this year is expected to reach a record high of roughly 11.58 million, up 820,000 year-on-year. Add to that the increasing numbers of overseas college graduates returning home every year, youths who graduated from college last year but couldn't find a job, and you will get an idea of the immense pressure the job market is under.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the surveyed unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 24 was as high as 19.6 percent in the first quarter of 2023, and even 20.4 percent in April. This shows youths, especially college graduates, are finding it increasingly difficult to find a job.

Since college graduates are precious human resources, the government attaches great importance to their employment and overall well-being. For example, the Central Economic Work Conference stressed that the employment channels for college graduates be increased on a priority basis. Also, multiple government departments have introduced policies and measures to help youths find a job or start their own business.

First, the government has announced tax deductions and exemptions, as well as subsidies for the public sector, and small and medium-sized enterprises to encourage them to recruit more college graduates, with the aim of raising the employment rate, stabilizing the job market and creating more job opportunities at the grassroots level. So college graduates should seek employment in grassroots organizations if they cannot find a job in the traditional or emerging sectors.

Second, the government has adopted favorable policies and built resource docking platforms, while providing guidance to support college graduates to start their own business. The government has also vowed to protect the college graduates' right to seek flexible employment.

Third, the central and local governments are holding job fairs in different areas to facilitate the employment of college graduates, and government departments have intensified their on-campus recruitment and have been holding job-advisory camps to provide employment information for college graduates. Efforts are also on to establish databases to track and monitor graduates' employment situation, and raise the employment rate by providing subsidies, training and tailor-made employment policies for graduates, especially those with special needs.

Fourth, the government plans to provide training for graduates to help them adapt to the demands of emerging industries and the modern service sector. For instance, the State Council, China's Cabinet, recently issued a notice saying that at least 1 million internship positions will be offered by companies, government institutions and social organizations this year. Meant for young job seekers, the internship comes with living allowances.

The array of research options and management posts on offer will help the college graduates enrich their internship experience.

And fifth, the authorities have adopted policies to better protect the rights of graduates and hold those violating their rights accountable. They have also been organizing activities to enhance graduates' legal awareness, including helping them protect their legal rights and seek compensation for the violation of their rights.

However, efforts should also be made to implement more favorable policies, promote high-quality development and stabilize the overall job market. The authorities need to improve the business environment, too, and help SMEs adjust their structure and boost employment.

Moreover, the public sector needs to create high-quality job positions for graduates in order to optimize the employment services and balance supply and demand. And the government should provide guidance and create a healthy business environment so college graduates can start their own businesses.

The author is an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security. 

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.