A study by Fudan University's journalism school shows that nearly 60 percent of graduates interviewed expected salaries between 3,000 yuan (US$436) and 5,000 yuan a month, though 46.1 percent of them think this year's wage levels will be a little lower than a year ago. Many of them, especially those from mainstream schools, are looking for salaries as high as 8,000 yuan a month.
Graduate employment emerged as a major theme at Wednesday's session of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference.
Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng said during a discussion at the meeting of the city's top advisory body that he was most concerned about employment, particularly for graduates.
Li, a Shanghai Maritime University graduate, told Oriental Outlook magazine that life in Shanghai could be difficult for people earning less than 2,000 yuan a month.
"To share an apartment with two bedrooms and a living room with a schoolmate you need at least 800 yuan a month. Monthly expenses for food would be no less than 600 yuan. Another 500 yuan would be spent on bills and daily necessities," Li said.
The average starting salary for new university graduates in Shanghai in 2008 was 2,981 yuan a month.
It was followed by Beijing, 2,872 yuan; Shenzhen, 2,809 yuan and Guangzhou, 2,714 yuan, according to a survey by Zhaopin.com, a job recruitment Website.
However, the survey also indicated that salaries were expected to fall this year.
In Shanghai, graduates' starting salaries are expected to fall to 2,604 yuan, a decrease of 12.65 percent. But the report said they should still remain the nation's highest.
University graduates in Beijing in 2009 will have an average starting salary of 2,535 yuan, down 11.73 percent on 2008; Guangzhou 2,413 yuan (11.09 percent); Shenzhen 2,528 yuan (10 percent).
Last year, the average starting salary for graduates with bachelor's degree was 2,094 yuan, master's degree 3,102 yuan and doctoral degrees 4,055 yuan. This year average salaries for master's degree holders will fall 11.96 percent to 2,731 yuan; bachelor's down 11.84 percent to 1,846 yuan and doctoral down 2.64 percent to 3,948 yuan.
The survey found that foreign-invested enterprises offered the highest average starting salaries 3,627 yuan in 2008. It was followed by joint ventures (3,371 yuan), private enterprises (2,548 yuan) and state-owned enterprises (2,236 yuan).
This year, starting salaries for graduates at European and American-owned enterprises will drop by 13.87 percent on average, joint ventures 12.62 percent and private enterprises 12.62 percent
The Fudan study introduced a Graduate Employment Confidence Index, which showed that graduates from prestigious schools had less confidence than their peers in mainstream schools.
Graduates from Fudan University, one of the most prestigious in the city, scored 2.52 out of five, the lowest recorded. Graduates from other schools were more optimistic with a high of 2.71 points.
The study showed that Shanghai was one of the most popular cities for graduates.
Nearly 70 percent of graduates from city universities wanted to start their careers here.
One graduate from at Shanghai's Jiao Tong University said he wouldn't want to miss the chance to work in Shanghai because it was the first choice for Fortune 500 companies.
Jobs in finance companies were the most sought after by the graduates, the Fudan survey found.
Nearly 60 percent of graduates in the survey planned to find a first job then start to look for a better position. (Xinhua)-Updated: 2009-01-15 09:51