SEOUL, Feb.2 (Korea Bizwire) – Unemployment in Korea is becoming worse year after year. The unemployment rate peaked last year at 9.2 percent. Influenced by the phenomenon, 222,650 young Koreans applied to take the national civil service exams, an all-time high in the number of applicants.
The job market is as frozen as the recent winter weather. Even former Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan apologized for not showing any concrete results in the job market as he resigned from his duties.
Since the unemployment rate entered the 9 percent range in 2014, it increased another 0.2 percent point last year, hitting a new peak since statistical standards were changed in 1999.
However, the situation seems to be getting worse as this year marks the start of prolonged retirement ages, and the economy is still in a rut.
To make matters worse, even the employed are having a hard time as one out of five people with a job are under contract as temporary employees for less than a year.
Under the harsh circumstances, even high school students are giving up on college, and starting to prepare for the civil service exams. They even enroll at academies which specialize in preparing for the test, and represent 27 percent of the total number of students studying there.
Authorities revealed that 222,650 individuals applied for the civil service test this year, while the entrance quota is only 4,120 people. The ratio of applicants to potential entrants is 54 to 1.
The number of applicants this year increased by 16.6 percent compared to the 190,987 applicants last year, setting a new all-time high in the number of applicants, and reflecting the harsh situation in which young people are placed under the current economic hardships.
The increased number of applicants was also seen to be influenced by the increased number of jobs offered by the government. The entrance quota increased by 11.4 percent compared to the 3700 people selected last year.
Competition rates showed a slight increase compared to the 51.6 to 1 ratio reported last year, but due to the increase in the entrance quota, it is not as severe as in 2014 (64.6 to 1) or 2013 (74.8 to 1).
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)