Xiao Huachang, a college graduate in east China\'s Jiangxi Province has signed an employment agreement with his father as it is the only way he can obtain his graduation certificate. Xiao majored in business administration at the East China Institute of Technology in the provincial capital of Nanchang and will graduate in July. However, the institute has a regulation that holding an employment agreement is needed to get a graduation certificate. \"I started looking for a job and sent more than 110 resumes since October, but only got 10 interviews and no offers,\" said Xiao, adding that he had no choice but to sign an agreement with his father. Xiao\'s father runs a toy factory in neighboring Zhejiang Province. The institute\'s regulation is not common, but Xiao is not alone among the record-high 6.99 million graduates who are struggling to find a job. Due to the bleak employment outlook, attending universities via the annual college entrance examination remains the first choice for most Chinese students. Alternatives such as vocational education are not attractive to many. A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said on Wednesday that some 9.12 million applicants are expected to take this year\'s college entrance exam, a slight drop from the 9.15 million in 2012. The exam is known as the \"single-log bridge\" to a Chinese university and many examinees view it as a \"life-or-death\" moment. Chinese students and parents believe that attending universities is a prerequisite to securing a good job after graduation. However, employment gets harder as the gap between universities\' training models and the demands in society widen, said Chu Zhaohui, researcher with the National Institute of Education Sciences. Chinese high school students would rather go to third-grade universities instead of choosing vocational schools under the country\'s talents evaluation system, Xiong Bingqi, vice president of the Beijing-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, told Xinhua. Though majors in vocational schools are fairly practical, graduates of these facilities feel mounting pressure when looking for a job. \"Higher vocational graduates are often seen to be inferior to other graduates from normal universities when they are applying for jobs as they have obtained lower degrees,\" Xiong said. Official figures showed that there were nearly 10 million higher vocational students in 2012, accounting for 40 percent of the total number of students who were receiving higher education. Chinese education authorities have been looking to develop vocational education over the past few years. They have helped 815 secondary vocational schools improve their teaching conditions. As many as 1,897 majors and 1,450 training bases have been created in 969 higher vocational schools. \"There will be no fair competition and development if high school graduates receive different types of education,\" Xiong said. \"The key problem now is not to develop China\'s vocational education, but make it more acceptable in society,\" Xiong added.