Dozens of people in Shandong have applied for previously unfillable jobs carrying human waste in a sign of the severe employment situation on the mainland. Jinan's Environment and Sanitation Bureau announced on Thursday that it would recruit five people to clean public toilets and septic tanks. The positions, which require a high school education, drew 152 applications on the first day. The bureau has faced difficulties recruiting young people because of the job's poor image and heavy workload. Each member of the 300-person team is expected to handle 1.5 tonnes of excrement a day. In recent years the team has aged, with an average age of 50 now, Workers' Daily reported. But thanks to the economic downturn and tough employment market, suddenly the job has become appealing. An official at the bureau said it was not worried about finding candidates now because many staff wanted their children to succeed them. Tens of millions of migrant workers who went home for the Lunar New Year in January are still looking for work. In addition, more than half the mainland's 6 million graduates have not found jobs, making unemployment a threat to social stability. Despite the unpleasant work, the package for latrine cleaners is attractive. Successful candidates receive a stable government salary and an insurance package similar to public servants'. A senior worker could earn 3,000 yuan (HK$3,400) a month, well above the city's average monthly wage of 2,200 yuan. Waste carriers held a prominent position in the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1959, then president Liu Shaoqi met and shook hands with Shi Chuangxiang , a long-time waste carrier, praising him as a model worker serving the people in a common position. Shi soon became a national star, encouraging many young people to serve the country as common workers.