Three months away from graduation, more than 90 per cent of this year's fresh graduates in the manufacturing heartland of Guangdong have failed to secure jobs as recruiters cut new positions to cope with the financial crisis. Educational authorities said only 28,000 students, or less than 9 per cent of the 331,000 expected graduates, had found jobs before this month. The proportion of students with offers was half that of last year. The release of the figures coincides with the death of a 21-year-old Jilin graduate who committed suicide in Shenzhen after she failed to find a job with decent pay, despite spending two years and going to great expense to study in Japan, the Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday. The report said the graduate jumped to her death from a building because after trawling for jobs in Beijing, Shenzhen and her hometown Yanbian for several months, the best offer she received was 1,800 yuan (HK$2,000) a month. In Guangzhou, Guangdong education department deputy director Li Xiaolu said at least one out of every five junior positions set aside for graduates had been cut since the global financial crisis started, and that many major finance and property companies that used to offer decent pay had dropped out of major job fairs. Economists said the fact that most graduates in Guangdong could not secure jobs was also a bad omen for their 6 million counterparts nationwide because Guangdong usually attracted one-third of the country's migrant workers and accounted for about a third of the mainland's exports. Labour authorities estimated that half a million fresh graduates from other provinces were, or would soon, compete for jobs in Guangdong, and at least 2.5 million graduates throughout the country had failed to find work in the past three years. Computer science student Li Zhen from South China University of Technology said only six out of his 38 classmates had found a job and he had lowered his job expectations to simply being employed. Provincial education bureau director Luo Weiqi attributed the tough employment market in Guangdong to the huge regional wealth gap between the Pearl River Delta and other parts of the mainland. 'Many graduates turn a cold shoulder to undeveloped regions that desire well-educated talent. Authorities should outline policies to encourage graduates to seek job opportunities there,' he said. Guangdong authorities have proposed six measures to offer graduates broader access to jobs, including one-off allowances and at least 4,000 entry-level and temporary positions in remote schools and villages. Unemployed graduates joining the scheme can receive up to 21,600 yuan a year, equal to the median salary in a mid-range company.