An estimated 960,000 college and high school graduates entered the workforce on Monday, with firms and government offices nationwide holding ceremonies to welcome new hires amid a slumping domestic economy.

With many firms undergoing mergers and restructuring efforts to counter the worst economic decline since the end of World War II, the recruits face severe competition for jobs.

According to a survey conducted two months ago by the labor and education ministries, 82.9 percent of university students have found full-time jobs, up slightly from a year before.

More and more firms are also switching from traditional seniority-based pay scales to merit-based remuneration schemes, and some new graduates are relying on work-share deals to secure jobs.

Many graduates who failed to land permanent jobs have instead opted for part-time positions, the ministries said.

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