Students who are about to graduate from universities across Beijing are quickly learning that finding a job can be expensive. Some say they spend as much as 10,000 yuan (S$2,050) in their quest for employment.
Sun Jingli, director of the Graduate School at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), said most graduates spend about 4,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan looking for jobs after they graduate, which can be a burden to those who come from poor families.
"They have to spend so much money and most of them are not prepared for it," she said. "And I think the expense will only increase in the future because of rising rent."
Guo Qiyi, 22, will graduate from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) this summer. Guo, who has already found a job with a foreign bank in Beijing, said he spent 6,000 yuan while job-
hunting, more than half of it on clothes for interviews.
"I searched online for dressing tips. The suit cost me 2,000 yuan and I spent another 1,500 on shoes, shirts and ties," Guo said.
He didn't want to ask for money from his parents so he spent all the money he earned from his part-time job.
But he said he thinks the expense was worth it.
"I got the job and I can use the clothes in the future," he said.
Guo said his friends had also bought new clothes for interviews.
For female graduates, job-hunting costs are even higher, since they have to buy makeup as well.
Ling Na, who will also graduate from UIBE, spent 600 yuan on makeup such as blush, foundation, face cream and eye shadow.
"It is important for us to have good makeup for a job interview because it helps make a good impression," the 22-year-old said.
Ling said female students really don't have much choice if they want to secure employment in the competitive white-collar job market.
"If we don't use makeup, the interviewer may think we don't try hard enough," she said. "My first interview might have failed because of this."
For those graduates considering work outside Beijing, there is also the added expense of transportation fees and accommodation.
Tang Min, a postgraduate from CFAU, sat for the civil service exam in Chongqing. He had to pay for two return flights, which cost him a total of 4,000 yuan.
He conceded that the extra expense was a burden. To save money, he stayed in a hotel that charged only 50 yuan a day and limited his food expenses to 10 yuan per meal.
Having passed the final interview, Tang said it was "money well spent".
For those who stay in the city, rising rent only adds pressure.
According to Lianjia, a major local estate agency, currently the average rent for an apartment is 3,000 yuan per month.
Wang Lei, 22, a graduate from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, is now a medical salesman. He rents a 10-sq-m room in an apartment for 1,300 yuan a month in Chongwen district.
"It is near where I work and I can walk there
on foot," he said. "But the rent is too expensive for me."
Wang is fortunate that he can live in an apartment in the city. There are many graduates who can only afford a bunk on the rural fringes of Beijing for 400 yuan a month. -China Daily/ANN