SEOUL, Sept. 4 (Korea Bizwire) - While the number of Koreans with a PhD is increasing rapidly, the demand for those who have completed higher education is not showing any growth, worsening employment conditions for high-quality human resources.
It takes about 10 years to go from getting a bachelor’s degree all the way up to a doctorate, and the expenses are also formidable. But workplaces that can offer appropriate compensation for the efforts are in short supply, resulting in an increase in unemployment for those with PhDs.
Although there are people that go all the way for the love of learning and studying, one of the important reasons these people are investing their time and money is to get a job that treats them better.
However, reality is cruel, as 62.8 percent of those who received doctorates last year selected universities as their preferred workplace, but only 35.9 percent were actually able to find jobs in academia.
As workplaces that require higher education are limited, the number of qualified candidates vastly exceeds the number of employment opportunities. According to a report issued by Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, the number of highly educated workers needed by society is 252,901, but the current numbers show an oversupply of highly educated manpower (1,130,589 people).
Since there are no jobs, those with higher education have no other choice but to lower their standards and get a ‘lesser’ job. A total of 185,369 people with a Master’s degree or a PhD were working at office jobs that did not require special skills, and 18,334 people were working as service industrial employees that had nothing to do with their specialty.
In addition, according to the Science and Technology Policy Institute, among 220,085 people who had a doctorate, 2.5 percent were unemployed. Considering that 5.8 percent of the PhDs were in an economically inactive state, eight out of 100 doctors were not working.
The phenomenon of highly educated workers accepting lower quality jobs is also causing troubles for jobseekers with lower education levels. If those with a Master’s degree or doctorate apply for jobs that require only a university graduate, university graduates will be pushed out and will instead have to be satisfied with jobs that require a college degree, resulting in college graduates applying for jobs that only require high school graduates.
Experts say the phenomenon is a display of academic elitism. They add that the inefficient allocation of jobs should be surmounted, and education should be normalized.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)