Fujian authorities get tough on companies thinking of firing staff Authorities in Fujian have issued explicit rules defining which companies can fire staff, Xinhuanet.com reports. Under the new policy, companies will not be able to retrench employees unless they meet at least one of a number of specific conditions. They have to satisfy the government that they are either in the process of rebuilding after a bankruptcy, are burdened by a certain level of debt or are undergoing some technological changes. The policy also insists that retrenched staff will be the priority candidates when their former employers begin recruiting again. Pregnancy seen by many women as best way to hang on to work The economic turmoil has given birth to a new white collar phenomenon - the 'financial crisis baby'. Chinanews.com.cn reports that many women are considering falling pregnant during the financial crisis to avoiding being fired. According to the national Employment Contract Law, women cannot be fired when they are pregnant or during their post-natal lactation period, so some are seeing pregnancy as the best way to survive the hard financial times. Graduates with French outstripping the competition in salary terms French language university graduates are commanding the highest salaries of all mainland college graduates, earning more than 4,000 yuan each on average per month, according to a survey of 445,000 graduates of the class of 2007, the Hangzhou Daily reports. A human resources expert said that an increasing number of French-invested companies had set up mainland operations in the past two years, creating more demand for professionals with French language skills. The report said that most of the French companies were in the Yangtze River Delta, and more than 1,000 of the firms were based in Shanghai. Companies quick to rein in costs in response to financial crisis More than two-thirds of businesses will shrink recruitment targets this year, and some have cancelled recruitment plans altogether, the Beijing Evening News reports. According to a survey by two major Beijing consulting companies, three-quarters of the companies questioned had been affected by the financial turmoil, and would adjust salaries to cut costs. The worst-affected areas were distribution and finance companies, where salaries have dropped by 5 per cent on average compared with last year. The survey revealed that 84.6 per cent of companies were taking measures to limit the negative impact of the financial crisis, with cutting costs their first step. About 4 per cent of the companies said they had instituted a hiring freeze. Hubei roadshow bids to convince employees to hire graduates Staff from Hubei's personnel, labour and social security and education bureaus will hit the road, travelling to other provinces and regions to encourage employers to take on some of the thousands of college graduates entering the labour market this year, the Changjiang Daily reports. The bureaus interviewed more than 3,600 prospective graduates and found that nearly 60 per cent of this year's university graduates were expected to be unemployed by the time they left campus. Only 9.28 per cent of students had signed employment contracts and 23.34 per cent of interviewees had found jobs but not yet signed contracts. A little more than 8 per cent planned to pursue further education, and the rest were still looking for work.