Job Markets Require Preparations
President & CEO of CareerCare
The Report on the Trends and Distinctive Features of New Employments of the Youth with Undergraduate Degrees, published Sept. 9 by the Korea Employers Federation (KEF), draws attention to the acute unemployment of the college-graduated young generation. KEF conducted a survey of 345 companies with more than 100 employees.
The report stated that the average competition rate for employment among new college graduates was 26:1, meaning only 3.8 out of 100 got jobs. However, quite a few of these failed to take up or quit their jobs in less than a year ― 32 percent at small and medium enterprises and 19 percent in large enterprises.
In addition, 28 percent of new employees resigned after a year ― 36.6 percent in small and medium enterprises and 21 percent in large enterprises. The report said that half of the new employees quit in less than 3 years.
The reason they quit their jobs so quickly stems from attempting to find work without seriously considering their aptitude and career path. Generally, undergraduate students take one of two conflicting attitudes towards employment when they face graduation.
Some students feel a strong urge to get a job quickly and randomly apply for any position without serious consideration. As a result, many don't take up offers after being accepted by companies, or quit in less than a year. They cannot bear the gap between the reality of their job and their ideal. Many go in and out of numerous companies, failing to manage their career paths. They become so called ``migratory birds'' or ``job-hoppers,'' Korean metaphors with negative connotations regarding people who frequently change their positions and jobs.
Others however remain unemployed, looking for higher standards for their expected career and ignoring reality. They apply to secure companies, such as large companies, foreign enterprises, and public enterprises, but do not consider lowering their standards despite failing to be employed by these companies.
They do not want to get a job unless it is relatively low in labor intensity and not overloaded so that they can have sufficient hours off. If they consider their aptitude and career path seriously, they might choose small and medium enterprises. However, this group of candidates has no intention of doing so.
There are roughly three types of unemployed adolescents ― those who do not get a job after graduating university, those who do not start their career even after getting employment, and those who start their career but quit recklessly. They all have a common characteristic: a lack of sincere consideration about their career path.
There is a socio-economic background to this trend. Most youths with university degrees have one or no sibling; hence, there is little problem depending on their parents. In contrast, youths with many siblings feel more pressure to get financial independence since they cannot expect their parents' continuous support. A parents' economic life span has been extended with the extension of the average life span, meaning little burden for youths to support their parents economically. Employment can sometimes cause economic problems for youths used to enjoying economic prosperity under the protection and support of their parents. Thus, there are no reasons for them to get a job in a hurry or endure working in unfavorable work places.
Unless this situation changes, the problem of unemployment among youths with undergraduate degrees is unlikely to go away.
In order to solve the problems of unemployed youth, it is necessary to create an environment that encourages youths to seek economic independence. By doing so, they will sincerely consider their aptitude and career paths, and there will be no more ``migrant birds'' in this society.