Graduates Face Stiff Competition for Jobs in China

Fan Jiachen, a college senior, survived the massive earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12. i i

Fan Jiachen, an English major at Sichuan International Studies University in Chengdu, China, attends a job fair in April. At the time, he was worried about finding the "perfect job" and decent pay. After surviving the massive earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12, Fan says his perspective on life is much different. Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Hsu/NPR
Fan Jiachen, a college senior, survived the massive earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12.

Fan Jiachen, an English major at Sichuan International Studies University in Chengdu, China, attends a job fair in April. At the time, he was worried about finding the "perfect job" and decent pay. After surviving the massive earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12, Fan says his perspective on life is much different.

Andrea Hsu/NPR

The young people coming out of universities in China are entering an economy that's booming. But they also are facing much more competition.

China has pushed for more and more universities — producing more and more educated job seekers.

About 5.5 million Chinese young people will graduate from college this year, more than five times the number in 2001.

Fan Jiachen is one of them. The 23-year-old college senior is an English major at Sichuan International Studies University in Chengdu. Last month, he was looking for employment at a job fair in downtown Chengdu.

What he's learned so far: an English major from a third-tier school such as his does not open doors.

Fan talks about the competition that he and his fellow college graduates are facing and his hopes and fears for the future.

As well, Fan shares how the earthquake that hit Sichuan province on May 12 has changed the way he thinks about life and work.

Before the quake, he says he felt pressure to find a good job, in part so his parents wouldn't be disappointed in him.

But after the disaster, he realized there is more to life: "Through the earthquake, I thought, 'Even if a person is very successful, if he loses his family, he will be alone all his life,'" Fan says.

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