SEJONG, July 1 (Korea Bizwire) – More young Koreans ended up working unskilled labor and temporary contract jobs last year.
Employment figures show that many young people of working age even accepted employment opportunities that were far below their qualifications and capabilities.
According to a recently published report entitled “Recent Employment Trend of Younger Generation and Policy Implications” written by Park Jin-hee, head of the Korea Employment Information Service’s Employment Information Analysis Team, the number of employees in their twenties who were hired last year increased by 68,000 compared to the year before.
The numbers for individuals in their thirties and forties declined by 38,000 and 14,000 respectively, however this does not mean 20-something employees are better off.
The occupations with an increased number of new hires were typically simple labor jobs such as security, delivery, and janitorial services, and 23,000 more of these types of positions were filled compared to the previous year. Next on the list were sales jobs (22,000) and mechanics (16,000). There were only 8,000 workers hired into professional positions, and office work experienced a decline of 3,000 positions.
The number of temporary contract positions is also becoming dominant.
The percentage of new grads whose period of employment at their first job was less than a year increased from 8.7 percent in 2006 to 20.7 percent last year. The percentage of employees without a contract period went down from 66.9 percent to 61.1 percent over the same period.
Due to weak job stability, many younger employees are constantly looking for more stable positions.
The study also revealed that 15.8 percent of the individuals who were economically inactive – unemployed or out of the labor market – for less than year said that they were displeased with working conditions or pay. This number has steadily increased in recent years, rising from 12 percent in 2013 and 14.1 percent in 2014.
The low employment rate of younger workers is partially due to the preference for jobs at larger companies and firms by new grads, and with sluggish economic growth, these companies have cut back their recruitment efforts.
As of December 2015, companies or businesses with less than 300 full-time employees had hired 7.4 percent more people year over year, while those with more than 300 full-time saw hiring drop by 3 percent.
As the official retirement age in Korea was raised to 60 this year, on top of the economic downturn, the situation is not looking bright for the millennial generation.
According to a survey conducted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry in April, 42.3 percent of 300 companies or businesses with more than 300 full-time workers said that they were planning to reduce their number of new hires because of the retirement age increase.
“A new employment policy should take into consideration different types of employment opportunities for young people, because each of them have varying competencies based on their educational and personal backgrounds,” said Park. “Relevant employment information must be passed on to anyone who is searching for jobs to prevent further mismatches of employees and employers,” she added.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)