Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Odds of Finding a Job

There are many stories in the media about fresh graduates having difficulty finding their first job. And many of them have resorted to working in an area not related to their study at all.

One story reported how thousands applied to become one of 40 assistants to foot masseurs.

Are there not enough jobs for educated people?

It seems the universities and colleges have been churning out graduates since 2005. Back then there were 3.38 million and this year there are 4.8 million. While these post secondary institutions claim 70 per cent of the graduates have found employment, that's not true.

According to Jim Hao, HR consultant with, a recruitment website, he says that number is "too diluted". "They even calculate post graduates who are studying as having a job."

He also blames the instructors and professors as not being aware of the real needs of the marketplace and not arming their students with the practical knowledge they need to not only get a job but also perform well in their careers.

But he does add that those grads who never thought they'd have any job prospects do have hope of using their degrees. Hao cites a travel agency was looking for a history grad to help promote new travel destinations through their knowledge of history.

While there have been some reports saying that some grads have trouble finding employment because their expectations are too high, Hao disagrees. "We had an online survey asking people if they would prefer a job that had a high salary but was unstable, or a job that had a low salary and stable," he explains. "Seventy per cent of grads preferred the latter choice. So I think they are realistic."

Fresh grads also prefer civil servant jobs, or "iron rice bowl" jobs. Hao said last November, 530,000 students in 31 provinces competed for 12,700 jobs in the civil servant exams. That's a ratio of 42 to one. Two years ago it was 35 to one.

He continues to say that in the past companies used to have few choices of qualified recruits. "They would get some fresh graduates and then make them all junior managers," Hao explains. "But now there are too many applicants, too many choices. They don't know which one is better. So they put them all on the production line or front line and see how well they perform."

That may explain why some of the staff at the Sephora store near where I live are actually management trainees and will be weeded out according to their sales ability. This may not be what they signed up for, standing for hours on end and persuading customers to buy beauty products. But this is the industry they've chosen to be in.

But probably most importantly, Hao says young graduates today, the "post-80's generation," have trouble adjusting into the workforce due to lack of teamwork and communication skills. "They are generation Y -- more direct, open-minded and have different communication styles that may not suit the company."

It sounds like both parties will have to adjust and learn from each other in order to work harmoniously and successfully in this "market economy".

1 comment:

ks said...

i dont know very much about the job market, one thing for sure is if the youngster is well educated, knowledgeable, good mannered ,personable he/she will get employed. otherwise the opposite is true.