University graduates are increasingly concerned as government restructuring and lay-offs at state-owned enterprises cast gloom over job prospects. Provincial governments and tertiary institutions this year stepped up their efforts to find work for graduates and some have organised large-scale recruitment trade fairs. However, their efforts have been hampered by the tough employment situation, with most state-owned firms either sacking workers or not hiring new staff. The situation has worsened since the National People's Congress last month approved the Government's restructuring plan to reduce by half the number of civil servants and abolish or reassign a dozen ministries and bureaus. This has led to many graduates failing to secure jobs even though they have passed civil service entry exams. According to the Ministry of Education, there will be 1.06 million university graduates this year, a 17.8 per cent rise from last year. About 10,000 of them are studying for doctorates, 41,000 for master's degrees and 617,000 are undergraduates, placing additional strain on the employment market. Department of College Student Affairs director Wang Chichang said there remained great demand for graduates in telecommunications, electronics, architecture and English. Those studying literature, history, finance and science also enjoyed strong prospects. Job markets in coastal regions were also much more active than in inland areas, he said. He said he believed the work mentality of new graduates was also playing a role in the job market. Some are unwilling to relinquish cadre status and work for private firms, while others do not want to work at a grassroots level or in remote regions, creating a glut of professionals in cities but a severe shortage in remote areas.