SEOUL, May 17 (Korea Bizwire) – Some 60 percent of public organizations did not choose any high school graduates when hiring new regular employees last year, data showed Wednesday, backtracking on a policy drive advocated by previous governments.
State agencies and their affiliated organizations hired 21,016 new regular workers last year, of which 9.3 percent, or 1,949 new employees, were high school graduates, according to the government portal All Public Information in One (ALIO).
A closer look showed that of the 355 public organizations, 215, or 60.6 percent, had no high school graduates among new entrants. The total number of regular workers hired by these companies stood at 4,932 people.
Eighty-three organizations filled more than 10 percent of their new positions with high school graduates. The ratio at the other 57 places was under 10 percent.
The percentage of high school graduates being hired overall was also falling. In 2012, the ratio was 12.2 percent. It fell to 11.8 percent in 2013, to 10 percent in 2014 and to 9.3 percent in 2015.
Even in the private sector, financial companies, formerly one of the largest employers of the high school graduates, hired less last year. The Industrial Bank of Korea, for instance, employed 193 new workers but had no high school graduates. Among 33 new entrants at the Export-Import Bank of Korea, only one was a high school graduate.
Boosting employment of high school graduates has been a part of a larger policy drive to improve the job market for youths. Last month’s unemployment rate for people aged 15-29 was 11.2 percent, the highest for April since recordkeeping began in June 1999. The former Lee Myung-bak administration had promoted vocational high schools, known as “meister schools,” and other skills-specific secondary education institutions whose graduates were trained and taught to be able to work at chosen jobs.
The succeeding Park Geun-hye government sought to expand the ratio of student enrollment at vocational high schools, especially in technology and engineering, from under 20 percent to 30 percent by 2022.
Nearly 80 percent of South Koreans obtain university degrees, creating a social atmosphere where high school students are edged out in competing situations.