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Graduates are taking the slow lane to finding a job

ALMOST 8 million new college graduates are looking for jobs in China this year, a new high in recent years. But many do not seem to care much whether they find one or not.

They are devotees of "slow employment," a lifestyle advocating a not-so-fast attitude in finding a job after graduation.

Some, like Xia Chuanqi, 24, plan for it. After bidding farewell to Sichuan College of Culture and Arts in July, Xia went to a remote part of Sichuan Province to do voluntary work.

"I interned at a local TV station in college and had been to several impoverished places in remote Sichuan. There, I saw people in need of help and that image stayed in my head. I come from the countryside, and I want to give them a hand and pull them up," he said.

Majoring in performing arts, many of Xia's classmates sought fame and fortune in cities. But that wasn't for him.

"Many actors lack real life experiences, so I want to do something down to earth and become a better person. Even if I decide not to become an actor, these experiences will stand me in good stead and will do me good," he said.

Huang Xiaoqian spent three months looking for a job in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, after months of searching in Beijing, where she graduated.

"It is easy to find a job, but hard to get a good one," she said.

"Slow employment" is the outcome of social progress and better-off families. In the old days, graduates would grab at any job simply because, if not, they would have no money to survive. Now, many of them no longer have such a problem. Parents are willing and able to finance their children for as long as they need.

Wang Zhifang worked at a well-known company for years after graduation before starting her own business. Her experience has convinced her that under the current education system, graduates need time to plan their careers before jumping into a major commitment to a company.

"Gap years are normal overseas. They spend their time traveling, doing community work and internships, as a way of expanding their horizons," she said. "While I was at school, I had no plan for my future and made the same decision as the majority of my peers. But I soon regretted it. It would have been much better if I had not been in such a rush and thought it through."

ALMOST 8 million new college graduates are looking for jobs in China this year, a new high in recent years. But many do not seem to care much whether they find one or not. They are devotees of "slow employment," a lifestyle advocating a not-so-fast attitude in finding a job after graduation. Some, like Xia Chuanqi, 24, plan for it. After bidding farewell to Sichuan College of Culture and Arts in July, Xia went to a remote part of Sichuan Province to do voluntary work. "I interned at a local TV station in college and had been to several impoverished places in remote Sichuan. There, I saw people in need of help and that image stayed in my head. I come from the countryside, and I want to give them a hand and pull them up," he said. Majoring in performing arts, many of Xia's classmates sought fame and fortune in cities. But that wasn't for him. "Many actors lack real life experiences, so I want to do something down to earth and become a better person. Even if I decide not to become an actor, these experiences will stand me in good stead and will do me good," he said. Huang Xiaoqian spent three months looking for a job in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, after months of searching in Beijing, where she graduated. "It is easy to find a job, but hard to get a good one," she said. "Slow employment" is the outcome of social progress and better-off families. In the old days, graduates would grab at any job simply because, if not, they would have no money to survive. Now, many of them no longer have such a problem. Parents are willing and able to finance their children for as long as they need. Wang Zhifang worked at a well-known company for years after graduation before starting her own business. Her experience has convinced her that under the current education system, graduates need time to plan their careers before jumping into a major commitment to a company. "Gap years are normal overseas. They spend their time traveling, doing community work and internships, as a way of expanding their horizons," she said. "While I was at school, I had no plan for my future and made the same decision as the majority of my peers. But I soon regretted it. It would have been much better if I had not been in such a rush and thought it through."

Copyright 2009 Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. All rights reserved.