’More FDI needed for young job seekers’
Commissioner, Invest Korea
The stories are many.
Scores of college students living on the outskirts of Seoul were rescued from pyramid scheme.
One man in his early 20s dropped out of college to earn money. His company failed to pay him for two months and he borrowed money from a private lender. His debt snowballed, he robbed, and he was arrested.
Another man, who was in his late 20s and laid off, found a credit card on the street and used it to buy necessities at a convenience store. He was also arrested.
These stories were part of a recent newspaper article reporting that the number of unemployed youth had reached 332,000 and that the youth unemployment rate had reached 7.6 percent, according to Statistics Korea.
The longer people are unemployed, the harder it becomes for them to get a job. They can lose confidence, become depressed, suffer from higher rates of mental illness and even commit suicide.
Unlike Ahn Chulsoo, whose father and wife are medical doctors, they can have difficulty finding credit to begin new ventures. These are the realities of those who are young and unemployed.
More and more college graduates are finding themselves without jobs and support. Foreign-invested companies in Korea could help provide them with both.
When foreign companies invest in Korean businesses, they not only create jobs, they create relatively high-paying jobs. Encouraging more foreign direct investments in Korea could lead to more economic growth and create even more of these high-paying jobs. The figures speak for themselves.
ㆍ Foreign direct investment into Korea has been an important factor in the Korean economy for a number of years, totaling $109.2 billion over the last ten years.
ㆍ For the period of 1999 to 2009, foreign-invested companies employed 345,360 workers, excluding those in the financial and public sectors.
ㆍ Nine new jobs were created per foreign direct investment of 1 billion won.
ㆍ A report by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that foreign firms are more productive in creating jobs than are domestic companies.
ㆍ Foreign-invested companies provide better job security, as the rate of involuntary dismissal is smaller than at domestic companies.
In other words, foreign-invested companies create quality jobs. Also, infusion of new capital and managerial skills could rescue a failing company, saving jobs in the process. There has been a visible positive impact on job creation not only in the sectors attracting FDI inflow, but also in their supportive domestic industries.
When it comes to the dejected and unsmiling face of the unemployed young, we have to place priority on the problem of youth unemployment. The issue may cause them to hate their society and their country.
More importantly, the issue will court national disaster unless it is properly addressed, as the young should take care of more senior citizens in a rapidly aging society.
We must focus not only on how much foreign direct investment we can bring in, but on how this investment can generate employment, as is the case in most European countries.
With increasing numbers of Korean companies needing to make investments in foreign countries to compete in the global marketplace, in this survival-of-the-fittest era, foreign direct investment is now more crucial than ever for creating jobs for the young.
This is why, as Invest Korea continues to attract foreign direct investment to the country, we will also focus on creating jobs.