SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Roughly 25 percent of people who recently earned a Ph.D. in South Korea are unemployed, a recent survey revealed.
However, the proportion of graduates who receive relatively high annual salaries has increased slightly.
According to a survey conducted by Statistics Korea, of 9,313 new Ph.D. holders in 2019, 25.2 percent were unemployed. The rate has risen steadily from 21.3 percent in 2014, the first survey, to 23.4 percent in 2018.
The ratio of holders of doctorate degrees who are neither employed nor seeking jobs stood at 4.1 percent, also the highest since the start of the survey.
On the contrary, the ratio of Ph.D. holders who were employed or who had accepted a job offer was 70.6 percent, the lowest on record.
By gender, it was more difficult for female graduates to get a job. Last year, the percentage of unemployed was 23.2 percent among 5,807 male Ph.D. holders compared to 28.5 percent among women.
The lower the age, the higher the likelihood that a recent graduate was unemployed.
Those aged under 30 accounted for 38.5 percent, compared to 36.6 percent between 30 and 34 years old, 28 percent between 35 and 39 years old, 16.6 percent between 40 and 44 years old, 12.2 percent between 45 and 49 years old and 13.3 percent over 50.
By line of work, the proportion of unemployed people among those who earned doctoral degrees in the natural sciences was 31.8 percent.
They were followed by those studying the humanities (29.2 percent), engineering (28.8 percent), arts and sports (24.9 percent), social sciences (21.5 percent), education and crime (17.4 percent), and medicine (14.5 percent).
Meanwhile, the proportion of new Ph.D. holders with relatively high salaries rose slightly.
Of the 6,445 respondents, 46.8 percent said they earned more than 50 million won (US$42,300) a year, up 1.4 percentage points from 2018.
In terms of gender, 55.8 percent of men, or 4,198, were in the high salary earning bracket, which was almost twice the number of women.
In terms of majors, the percentage of people who earned more than 50 million won a year was the highest in engineering and medicine, at 57.8 percent.
This was followed by social sciences (53.3 percent), education and crime (39.3 percent), natural sciences (30.4 percent), art and sports (22.6 percent), and humanities (15.1 percent).
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)