SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – The attitudes of 20- and 30-year-old South Koreans regarding work can be summed up in the following line: “time over fit, pay over time”.
This short phrase encapsulates the compromise that many young adults have made in the face of a difficult job market; rather than stubbornly sticking to ideas about passion and fit and “loving the work you do”, members of this particular age group, referred to as the “2030 generation” in South Korea, are more likely to aim for jobs that pay well while channeling their individual idiosyncrasies into a variety of hobbies.
At least that’s what was revealed in a study by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, disclosed on December 28, which sought to uncover the 2030 generation’s lifestyle choices and views on work.
For data, the study analyzed nearly 700 million online messages that were posted during a span of almost three years on over 500 internet communities and job forums.
Contrary to certain negative perceptions of millennials as prone to chasing vacuous trends, the government found that the 2030 generation thought meticulously and intelligently before making decisions, and furthermore, sought clear and definitive solutions to their problems.
Befitting a generation that grew up in the dawn of the Information Age, these individuals exhibit little difficulty in maneuvering the highly technologized modern world. Despite concerns that social changes such as “eating alone” – once considered an absolute no-no, especially when dining in public — are indicative of a more isolated, disconnected society, the 2030 generation is, at least on the web, extremely connected.
Job forums are just one example of a thriving online community, as members freely share knowledge, expertise and information, help prep one another for future interviews, encourage troubled and downcast commenters, and post test scores.
The 2030 generation is a highly conscientious one, with many in this age range active in political and social participation, encouraging citizens to vote and rallying against perceived corruption, prejudice in society, historical inconsistencies, and more, according to the government’s findings.
Along with a heightened social and political awareness, those in their 20s and 30s hold dear the importance of respecting personal tastes, likes and dislikes, etc.
When it comes to jobs, individual preferences as a whole prioritize salary, with the keyword “yearly salary” appearing most frequently pertaining to work on job forums.
Not all favor earnings above all else; working mothers and women who were looking to return to the workforce emphasized flexible working hours.
Though money was the chief concern regarding jobs, the most commonly appearing keyword pertaining to work life was “working late” for the unemployed and employed alike. Work-life balance and leaving work on time were also frequently mentioned online, evidence that the willingness to deemphasize personal time only extends so far.
With no set of guidelines or rules to enforce proper work-life balance, the 2030 generation were found to believe that government policies should focus on fostering work environments that ensure workers can make use of the rights guaranteed to them, such as leaving on time or taking time off work, rather than on expanding welfare and benefits.
The employed portion of the 2030 generation with one to three years of work experience struggle the most with deciding whether to quit and move on to another job. Men and women with three years of work experience face what they call “career puberty”, an apt way of describing the dilemma in choosing either to grow one’s career in the same place or to seek greener pastures. Overall, those stuck in career puberty expressed considerable ambition, with a desire to continue growing and learning.
In age-conscious South Korea, it is only fitting that job seekers and individuals looking for a job or career change are troubled by “age”, the major keyword in regards to employment. Failure to secure employment as they continue to get older was discovered to be a source of stress and anxiety for these members of the 2030 generation.
The government study also found that high marks on standardized English tests are viewed as the most basic qualification for getting hired; however, expenses necessary in order to attain a good score are considered formidable obstacles by many.
Work-life balance is almost nonexistent in Korea. The first job I took here I was working almost 12 hours everyday.. with two-hour commute to the office, I was literally done by the time I got home.. smh It’s such a shame that so many young men and women are wasted. The issue should be addressed more often. Great reporting.