A rise in employment is linked to local governments lifting restrictions on applicants from outside their regions The job hunt is getting easier for university graduates, despite a rise in the number of job-seekers with fresh tertiary qualifications, according to figures from the Ministry of Education. However, the ministry warned that some graduates would find the going tough and an education expert warned that the mainland was still producing more graduates than it needed. This year, 2.8 million graduates entered the job market and 73 per cent found positions, compared with 69.8 per cent last year. The total number of graduate job-seekers represented a 32 per cent increase over last year, when 2.12 million graduates were competing for positions. With more competition, the number of graduates who have not yet found work was also up 18 per cent, to 756,000. The ministry's student department chief, Lin Huiqing , said that despite the encouraging figures, it would remain difficult for some graduates to find positions. Authorities expect 3.38 million students to complete tertiary education next year. The ministry attributed this year's rise in the employment rate to local governments lifting employment restrictions on applicants from outside their regions, as well as a provincial-level efforts to employ more graduates. The ministry said engineering majors had a relatively easy time finding work and about half of them had found jobs in the private sector - either in foreign-invested firms or by setting up their own businesses. But the ministry said several factors continued to be a drag on employment rates. Ms Lin said local policies restricting the free flow of students had not been completely eliminated and some regions had not implemented tax and loan incentives to encourage graduates to set up their own businesses. Shandong University sophomore Zhou Xiaoxie said job availability played a big part in her decision to major in national defence. 'I don't know whether or not I like the major, but it has an advantage,' Ms Zhou said. 'There will be no need to look for a job after graduation ... Our whole class will join the PLA. I don't want to experience the disappointment, frustration or even despair of trying to find a job.' Nanjing graduate Xia Ai vented his and his classmates' frustration at trying to find work in an message published on Sunday in the Sohu.com chat room. 'Why have qualified products [graduates] failed to sell?' Mr Xia said. 'Why have the product manufacturers [universities] just taken money and not any responsibility? Why should we go to remote places, to rural areas?' Zhou Hongling , head of the Beijing New Era Citizen Education Institute, said university students were regarded as a privileged community before tertiary enrolment began to expand in 1999. The situation had changed dramatically since then. 'In general, the supply of graduates exceeds demand on the mainland and the situation will remain unchanged for a long period,' Mr Zhou said. 'The value of a graduate is decided by the supply-demand relationship. No matter what measures the government adopts, their influence will be dwarfed by market forces.' He said students had to face reality and change their unreasonable expectations. 'Otherwise they will be easily led to extremes or even duped into joining illegal groups such as pyramid sales schemes.' In June, the central government ordered a crackdown on pyramid schemes after more than 2,000 university students were lured to Chongqing with the promise of making quick money.