Economy pushes Chinese grads into unusual jobs

Zhao is head of recruitment for Sichuan Sisters and will hire 1,000 college students this summer — both women and men — to work in Beijing.

"My parents didn't like my major at first, but now they have seen the results. The most important factor was that one of my relatives went to America and did a similar job," says Zhao, 24. "I believe this industry has a bright future in China."

Choosing smaller companies

Graduates must be "less choosy and more reasonable and realistic," says Wang Jian, marketing manager at 51job.com, China's leading recruitment website. "In the past, all students wanted to work in Top 500 companies. Now I tell them to choose smaller, private companies."

The slowing economy is good news for Fu Chunbao, manager for a chain of stores that sells wedding dresses.

He had few takers last December when he was trying to hire sales clerks for his two Beijing stores. In June, applicants flocked to his booth at the Yonghegong job fair as Fu planned to open another store. "The economy is worse now, and there are fewer jobs, so I have more people to choose from," Fu says.

Trying for one of those jobs was Han Bing, 22, an advertising major who just graduated from Beijing Technical Vocational College. After attending 10 job fairs in June — and 10 interviews — Han has abandoned any hope of landing a career in advertising.

"If I can't find a suitable job in sales, then I'd consider working in a funeral parlor," Han says. "But I wouldn't tell my parents."

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