20 February 2009
In China, a survey of multinational companies has found that nearly 70% of them plan to cut recruitment this year.
Finance, communications and IT companies will be hardest hit.
Click to hear the report
Jobs in multinational companies are highly prized in China, especially white-collar jobs. For a start the pay is often better than you might get as a public servant or the employee of a state owned enterprise. The jobs tend to be concentrated at the moment in the larger cities, like Beijing or Shanghai, or in the areas where there are many factories making goods for export.
Two years ago the multinationals were competing to hire the brightest talent from China's universities but since the financial crisis jobs in multinational firms whose parent companies have run into trouble overseas, like CitiGroup or Motorola, no longer look so secure.
This year there was a record number of applications for the civil service, more than three quarters of a million people applied for 13,500 places. The surveys of the multinationals reported in the state media suggest that those applicants were wise to seek safer alternatives.
Almost 7 out of 10 of the firms polled made clear they planned to recruit fewer staff in the year ahead. That will make life even harder for this year's graduates. There are fewer jobs available than before and they'll be competing with other unemployed graduates from previous years and with newly laid off workers who already have experience.
The graduate employment market has always been tough in China but this year it is looking like it will be tougher than ever.
Chris Hogg, BBC News, Shanghai
Click to hear the words
- highly prized
- much valued, sought after
- white-collar jobs
- jobs carried out in an office requiring mental rather than manual skills
- public servant
- someone working for the government
- tend to be concentrated
- are likely to be mostly in the same place
- making goods for export
- producing products specifically to be sold abroad
- to hire the brightest talent
- to recruit the best people to work for them
- run into trouble
- begun to have problems
- a record number
- more than ever before
- to seek safer alternatives
- to look for less risky jobs
- newly laid off
- recently made redundant