[Runner-up Award] Flexible Labor Market Key to Solving Youth Unemployment
South Korea is one of the most developed countries in the world. The country has endured the currency crisis and overcome many difficulties. Since the beginning of the 21st century, South Korea has been developing its knowledge industry with their human resources. Apparently, the next generation will rely on the knowledge industry rather than the manufacturing industry. Many futurologists predict that the country will benefit from its reliance on the knowledge industry. Recently, South Korea has experienced high rates of youth unemployment. Without solving this problem, South Korea's future will be threatened because of an unstable workforce. The youth unemployment rate is continuously increasing, but the government has not taken any measures to overcome this grave issue.
What should the government do? First, its officials must change the flexibility of South Korean workforce. 'The flexibility of the South Korean workforce' can be defined as how easy or difficult it is for a company to hire or dismiss its employees. In particular, a company may encounter barriers in regards to releasing an employee. These barriers are related to social customs and labor laws, among other issues. Consequently, a company has the ability to easily hire individuals, but may find it is more difficult to dismiss its employees. These circumstances have acted as a catalyst for the current youth unemployment crisis.
Of course, 'flexibility' is not a unique term to the workforce, as it can be connected with various economic states. These include, but are not limited to, the national market, wages, industrial policy and personnel shift. Before addressing these concerns, 'the flexibility of workforce' must be stable. Ultimately, the objective of the flexibility is to create a competitive workforce and to solve unemployment; this is particularly true of youth unemployment. South Korea can improve its workforce flexibility by introducing a piece rate system and a flexible wage policy, among other initiatives.
Second, the government should ensure that every politician is more diligent in their work. Although the connection between employment and politics has long been considered an important issue, few Korean politicians are reliable to the citizenry. Employment is influenced by politics and if there were improved government policies, much could be changed. Non-regular workers bills, for example, are causing both direct and indirect effects. The direct effects include an obvious loss of employment, but also indirectly impact the individual's family by limiting their finances and as a result, their lifestyle choices.
What should youth do, then? First, they should become more aware of large- and small-to-medium sized enterprises. There are many smaller, established organizations in South Korea that seek ambitious professionals. Why then, do youths prefer large enterprises? Perhaps it can be explained by their concern with future prospects within the organization, as well as welfare policy and wages, among other issues. This situation can be explained by the majority of Korean youths wanting to work in the public sector as public servants. Part of this trend can be understood by considering the currency crisis of 1997, which caused more individuals to seek out job stability and a strong welfare policy. The government is unable to provide job stability for all of its employees, but in South Korea, it appears as though public servants enjoy most, if not all of the advantages. Even if this statement is inaccurate, most Koreans believe it to be true, which is just as powerful. To solve this problem, the government must change its labor policy. Youth, however, also need to change their attitudes towards their future employment. For example, they ought to consider employment within smaller organizations, which offer numerous opportunities for future prospects.
Second, youths who have the ability to do so, should create their own businesses, regardless of start-up size and capacity. If youths want to specialize in a particular field, they are likely to fulfill their desire by creating their own business enterprises. Such an experience can be very challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. Entrepreneurs may encounter many difficulties, but also have the ability to achieve their business objectives. The government and the national economy can become more respected and powerful by improving the employment market. Many youths have formed successful businesses. Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo, for example, has become one of the most successful businessmen. He has stated that an organization's 'spirit' has the ability to change a person's fortune for the better. South Korean youths would be wise to take heed of Jerry Yang's advice.
In the modern era, many countries are experiencing unemployment problems. These trends can be attributed to the advent of advanced technology, which has reduced the reliance on 'human power' to operate a successful enterprise. It is reasonable to suggest that youth employment will become an even bigger issue in the future if the above-mentioned issues are not addressed. It is therefore critical to seriously consider methods to address to growing issue of youth unemployment. Although these concerns have been considered by various economists, politicians, various organizations and South Korean citizens, a solution can only be developed if these entities work together and approach the problem without trying to satisfy personal or political agendas. If these parties act harmoniously, it is possible and perhaps even probable that South Korea will solve the above-mentioned problems.