More than 6 million Chinese students left university last year and up to a quarter are still struggling to find work.
Another six million will graduate this year and they're going to find it even tougher. Economic conditions are to blame, of course, but there is a more fundamental issue.
"The number of graduates increased too quickly - by 2006 there were already five times more than in 1999. The labour market can't take that big an increase in such a short time," said Professor Yang Dongping of the Beijing Institute of Technology, the author of a report on graduate employment.
China's successfully expanded higher education in recent years. Too successfully perhaps, says BBC News.
About 6% of the workforce has been to university, far fewer than in many developed countries, but there are still not yet enough high-end jobs for graduates to do here.
Higher expectations are clashing with the deteriorating economic reality, says the Guardian. I think much the same is happening in India.
We currently have 1600 engineering colleges and 1200 odd bschools - all of which churn out graduates suffering from expectation mismatch. In the boom period, even the third rung colleges would manage to attract some employers.
But in the slowdown, the creme de la creme itself appears to be gasping for air. Top bschools are sending out placement brochures to tiny firms. Alums are bemused,"Kya haalat itni buri hai?". Anecdotal evidence would suggest so (although a complete picture will only emerge by the end of next month).
"XYZ cola major came to campus and offered 3 lakhs per annum," says an agitated final year student at one of India's best known bschools. He can't imagine expecting *such* a low offer. It's an insult.
But what is low, really? A microfinance position has become a serious option at a top bschool. The job content is good and a paypacket of Rs 10 lakhs looks generous to me. Magar students cannot help recalling that the average last year was Rs 14 lakhs p.a.
"We realise salaries will be lower this year but still, it's hard to accept...!"
And more so, because you've shelled out fees ranging from Rs 6-11 lakhs and will soon have EMIs hanging over your head.
Luckily, we have the 'social security' of living with parents :)
But seriously, I'd like to hear from any of you guys out there graduating this year, what the mood on campus is like. More than hard statistics I want anecdotes, incidents, what junta is talking about.
How you and your batchmates are dealing with the situation, what are your hopes and dreams for the near future.
You can add your comments below, or if you'd like to remain anonymous, mail me at rashmi_b at yahoo.com. The inputs you provide will be used by JAM magazine for an upcoming cover feature titled - you guessed it - 'Where are the jobs?'