[David's Think and Thought2] A New Paradigm on the Issue of Youth Unemployment

청년 실업에 대한 새로운 시각

남정현 기자 | 기사입력 2019/04/14 [20:57]

[David's Think and Thought2] A New Paradigm on the Issue of Youth Unemployment

청년 실업에 대한 새로운 시각

남정현 기자 | 입력 : 2019/04/14 [20:57]


A New Paradigm on the Issue of Youth Unemployment


                                                                                                     Lee Seongjae


▲ 칼럼니스트 Lee Seongjae 이성재     ©

Since the early 1980s and 1990s, there has been a mismatch between the number of college graduates and workforce demand. This has increased the number of unemployed youth who wanted to work in airports, hospitals, banks, corporations, public offices, schools, institutes, and enterprises. Even though Park Geunhye’s administration has spent nearly 4 trillion won in various measures designed to engage more youth into the workforce, only temporary jobs rapidly proliferated, deviating from the goal of the government. We need to analyze the mind-set of young jobseekers, the current condition of Korean medium and small-size companies, and the shortcomings of government-sponsored job creation programs commissioned to enterprises and public corporations to lower youth unemployment


It is indispensable to explore the psychological traits of college graduates who prefer conglomerates to medium and small-size companies. It has been a dominant trend among young jobseekers to seek white-collar jobs such as public servants, bank tellers, teachers, accountants, etc. It is serious that 25 to 31 year old college graduates have avoided 3D positions working in difficult, dirty, and dangerous conditions. This prejudiced attitude has triggered a serious deficiency of workforce in the manufacturing sectors. On the other hand, Korean conglomerates such as Samsung, Hyundai, KIA, SK, LG, Hyoseong, and Lotte have been attracting the majority of young job hunters, supplying only limited jobs for youths who desire higher salaries clean working conditions, bonuses, and higher levels of wellbeing benefits. However, youth jobseekers are expected to have a new paradigm in selecting their jobs. They should dump their extreme reliance on major domestic firms and expand their challenge to prospective minor enterprises, venture businesses, overseas firms, and individual inauguration of an enterprise.


Likewise, analyzing the current condition of Korean medium and small-size companies can provide us a breakthrough in mitigating the issue of youth unemployment. Why don’t prospective job seekers apply for medium and small-size enterprises? From the 1970s through 1990s, the disadvantages of relatively poor quality working conditions, lower wages, lower social reputation, and job insecurity in small businesses have been obstacles in attracting well trained college graduates. However, there has been a dramatic improvement of overall working conditions in factories where computer chips, pipes, springs, nails, plastics, cars, electronic goods, and textiles are manufactured. Here is a way to increase job opportunities for struggling job hunters. Medium and small size companies and conglomerates should cooperate. Exploring the next generation energy sources called “the Blue Ocean”, building partnerships with Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, and establishing nationwide partnerships among institutes, colleges, and local governments can be a breakthrough to generate new jobs with gigantic synergy effect.


Meanwhile, closely reconsidering the inefficiencies of government-sponsored job creation programs is momentous in preventing the loopholes, the waste of funds for promoting youth employment. Even though more than 3 trillion won was invested to expand internship opportunities to college graduates in the administrations of Roh Moohyeon, Lee Meongbak, and Park Geunhae, ironically 300,000 jobs for youth vanished. The main reason was that enterprises counted on expending temporary internships because they couldn’t trust the new employees. This caused them to leave their workplaces within a year, crippling their adjustment and career development. Widespread loopholes in financial management related with job creation programs resulted from bureaucrats’ loose administration. It is indispensable to suspend these bureaucrats not to be negligent or to discard the government-sponsored job creation programs.


Discarding prejudice toward small firms, improving the overall working conditions of small firms, and reconsidering the government-sponsored job creation program from the original masterplan are what we have to carry out to aid more young job hunters to be employed. To find a breakthrough in the extremely competitive job opportunities called “the Red Ocean”, young jobseekers need to accept the strict realities that past jobs that had been done with manual labor are now done with automated facilities such as conveyors, industrial robots, computers, and cranes.


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