Mon, Jul 19, 2004 - Page 10 News List

College graduates swarm job fair at WTC

EMPLOYMENT Hopeful young people with new degrees are eager to get work, but some recruiters say that their diplomas aren't worth very much

By Tina Yuan  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

The two-day Job Fair Carnival was held Saturday and yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center. The job fair attracts many recent college graduates.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

More than 120,000 job seekers attended a two-day job fair that closed yesterday at the third exhibition hall of Taipei World Trade Center, organizers of the event said.

Called the largest such event in the last 10 years, the fair brought together 150 businesses from the high-tech, financial and service sectors -- such as AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) and Citibank -- to provide information about 250,000 job opportunities to young job seekers.

"We plan to hire more than 300 new people this year," said Richie Chan (陳順康), vice president of Citibank Taiwan's human resources division.

"Salespeople are what we need most, but not many graduates want to do this job," Chan said.

"People in Taiwan hold a negative impression of salespeople. Actually, the job is relatively easy for a rookie to adapt to and it's not that hard to get a promotion," Chan said.

Good prospects

Things look good for young job seekers this year, as the government has established a target of 5.41 percent for the nation's economic growth this year, up from 3.24 percent last year.

"I want to get a job first and obtain some experience before going back to school for study," a graduate surnamed Huang said.

"I think with job experience, I will have insight about what to study," Huang said.

The number of job opportunities for new graduates has increased 60 percent this year over a year earlier, according to Rocky Young (楊基寬), president of 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行).

"The basic salary for this year's graduates is up 3 percent over last year's, and companies are pretty optimistic about their employees' getting a raise," Young said.

But not all students want to join the job market after graduation.

"I believe having a master's degree will improve my capabilities and knowledge and ensure a promising career," said Ed Chung (鐘聖雄), who studies at National Taiwan University's (NTU) institute of journalism.

"It will never be too late to pick up work experience after graduation, so I am not that eager to gain it right now," Chung said when asked if work experience matters.

Dilemma

For college graduates, the improving job market poses something of a dilemma: whether to pursue advanced study to become more competitive or whether to ride the wave of growing employment.

Take two national universities, NTU and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). Less than half of their graduating seniors last year chose to go to work right away. The percentage of NTU graduates on the job market last year was 44.86 percent, while NCKU's percentage was 38 percent.

According to Young, there are about 15 holders of master's degrees among every 100 graduates battling for jobs.

`Strawberry generation'

"Seriously, job candidates who only have bachelor's degrees don't stand out," Young said.

"Moreover, many companies don't have any confidence in the quality of a bachelor's degree nowadays."

A job consultant at Career Consulting suggested that members of today's so-called "Strawberry Generation" are very insensitive to the job market and don't truly understand their own abilities.

"In most cases, what they learn in school is not really relevant to what they will do in a company," said David Li (黎峰睿) of Career Consulting.

A job seeker surnamed Chang said she hoped to land a job at the fair. "I want to transfer to another field from what I am doing [working as an accountant at a mercantile company], but I don't yet know what I want to do," Chang said.

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