China’s college graduates are up against it this year, as large-scale job fairs have been suspended to due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, China Daily reported.

Economic loss the epidemic has brought to companies also raised the bar for college graduates, as they may reduce recruitment quotas to control labor costs, the report said.

Early in Jan 26, Henan province announced large-scale job fairs planned for spring will be postponed, the report said. Beijing ordered all job fairs to be suspended to better control the epidemic on Jan 31.

There are 8.34 million college graduates this year, up from 2.12 million in 2003 during the SARS outbreak.

Although some of the graduates received job offers in the latter part of 2019, there are still a a great number who planned to get jobs in the spring semester, and their search should have kicked off in early February, the report said.

Measures have been taken to ease the pressure.

Five ministries, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Transport, jointly released a notice encouraging universities and companies to organize recruitment tests and interviews online, to help college graduates get more information about the job market, the report said.

The time period of recruitment campaigns will be lengthened and employment services — for example, signing employment agreements — will be open to students online, the notice said.

Zhaopin, an online recruitment agency in Beijing, said it’s better for college graduates to take action as early as possible like sending out resumes online to take every opportunity of written tests or interviews.

It also suggested college students adjust their targets and remain confident in themselves, as the job market may be affected by the epidemic for some time but will soon be back on track.