BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- China is finding new ways to get jobs for the country's millions of college graduates, as vacancies are getting slashed under the current financial crisis.
New measures include encouraging college graduates to work in rural areas and in smaller firms, and giving financial support for start-ups of their own businesses, according to a circular issued by the general office of the State Council Sunday.
Premier Wen Jiabao said in January that finding employment for college graduates should be the top priority of the country's employment work, calling these graduates China's "valuable human resources".
China has 6.11 million college students due to graduate this year, and another one million from last year are still looking for jobs after they failed to get a job in 2008.
According to a Blue Book of China's Economy (2009) released last December by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a major government think tank, one million unemployed graduates accounted for about 12 percent of college graduates from last year.
The situation was worsened after about 20 million migrant workers lost their jobs as many exporters were forced to halt or reduce production as a result of weakening overseas demands.
Last year, 11.13 million urban jobs were created, while the country's economy expanded by 9 percent.
In the context of an economic slowdown, the country is put to test with the task of maintaining an economic growth that could generate enough jobs for the unemployed this year.
DIVERSIFIED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Sunday's circular is calling out college graduates to work in rural areas, at grassroots urban communities, and in smaller enterprises, in a bid to explore more channels of employment for them.
The country would offer subsidies and preferential policies for further studies to lure college graduates away from big cities, where they prefer to stay in pursuit of better job opportunities, according to the circular.
College graduates who work as village officials, rural teachers, rural doctors, or serve at communities of residential areas in the cities would get subsidies and proper coverage of social security, said the circular without elaborating.
University students who work in remote areas of the country's middle and western parts for a certain period, or serve in the army after graduation, could be exempted from part of the tuition or schooling loans.
In addition, students with grassroots working experiences would have a priority when they enroll for postgraduate studies and civil servants.
Civil servants are deemed with good prospects for future career in China, and competition among applicants is fierce. For instance, more than 800,000 applicants are estimated to compete for about 13,500 jobs this year.
The country would also facilitate employment of college graduates at smaller enterprises, according to the circular.
More than 70 percent of the country's college graduates had ended up employed in small and medium-sized enterprises and private firms.
Yet, the government would encourage more students to find jobs there with simplified administration procedures for personal file management and social security coverage, call-off of residence restrictions, and subsidies for employers.
Employers could get social security subsidies from the government, or exemption of some taxes, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS).
Small labor-intensive enterprises would get loans of up to two million yuan (292,410 U.S. dollars) for hiring a certain number of college students registered as unemployed.
The circular also encouraged the country's research institutions to recruit excellent graduates as research fellows, who are not formally employed but will receive pay and get covered by social security insurance.
"This is a new policy, which is both good to the country's scientific research work and to relieving employment pressure in prolonging the study time of graduates," according to an MOHRSS official.
In the meantime, the country is also stepping up support for graduates starting up their own businesses, ranging from exemption or reduction of taxes and administration fees to better access to bank loans, according to the circular.
Graduates registered as unemployed could apply for loans of 50,000 yuan for start-ups of their own businesses.
BETTER SHELTER FOR UNEMPLOYED
The country will also launch a graduate trainee program for one million unemployed college graduates in three years, according to Sunday's circular.
The program did not suggest a fixed length or pay scale of the training, but the circular demanded local government and organizations which provided training to offer basic living subsidies to the trainees.
The government would build training bases for the program with responsible employers, and employers are encouraged to recruit graduate trainees, said the paper.
Besides the trainee program, the government would also enhance technical training for graduates from vocational schools with a "double certificates" program.
According to the program, schools would help the students get vocational qualification certificates when they leave school, in addition to their graduate certificates.
Sunday's circular offers detailed policies on finding employment for college graduates, which are in line with outlines made by Premier Wen Jiabao at an executive meeting of the State Council in January.