In China, half of college graduates without jobs -- and some turn to reality TV

(CBS News) BEIJING - If you think the job market is tight in the United States, you should see what's happening in China. Imagine trying to convince a boss to hire you with the whole country watching.

Forget job interviews or sending out resumes. Some college graduates in China are trying to find work on reality television, where new shows put applicants in front of potential employers. CBS News visited one called "The Capable Deserve the Job."

"I hope to get a job in movie promotion," said 24-year old Wei Yunyun. "My post graduate work was in film studies."

She so impressed judge Liu Tong that he offered a job on the spot -- working at his company, which produces and promotes Chinese movies and TV shows.

Finding a job is tough, Liu said through a translator. He said his company is getting 10,000 resumes a year for its 50 job openings.

And the shortage of jobs is what makes the job hunting shows more than just good reality television. They are also a sign of tough economic times facing China's college graduates.

As China's economy soared, so did the number of people who could go to college. The number of graduates went from a million in 2001 to more than 6 million in 2012.

These days, a lot of them have traded studying for searching, hunting out listings at job fairs, victims of a stuttering economy where only one in two of this year's college graduates has work.

That makes Wei once of the lucky few as she starts her new career.

Wei is happy to have a job in such a tough market, but she takes credit for her success.

"I think what happened to me comes from my own effort and preparation," she said. "Apart from good luck, I think I deserve the job."

Every week a new crop of faces with high hopes show up on reality TV, looking for something that college graduates in China once considered a given -- the chance at a job.

  • Barry Petersen

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