What do you think that recent university students have the biggest worries about? According to a survey on Cash-Slide targeting 939 university students conducted last March, “Employment” ranked in the top spot at a rate of 39.7%. Prospective students also said one of their biggest worries is employment, so we can realize how big their pressure is. Young people’s worry becomes deeper, and some of them turn their attention to overseas employment. They want to go abroad away from the Korean job market called “Hell-Chosun.” Let’s find out some details about the current condition of employment in Korea, and which country’s job markets now catches young people’s eyes, and the reasons.
The Current States of the Job Market in Korea
Youth Unemployment Rate Above 10%
It seems that the current condition of employment in Korea is still remaining flat. According to employment trends from Statistics Korea in July 2017, the youth unemployment rate in July was 9.3 percent, and it is figure as increasing 0.1% compared to the same month last year. Why has the problem of unemployment in Korea not improved? First of all, quality jobs in Korea are not increasing. “Quality jobs” means that workers can receive fair wages and they are guaranteed stable labor conditions. In Korea, many small businesses create relatively more jobs, but the reality is that the wage is not enough compared with the working hours. Also, poor working environments remain unresolved. The Korean Government should not immerse itself in short-term figure growth, rather it should set long-term goals and try to solve problems in terms of wage levels, work patterns, and keeping employment.
The Reason Why Demand for Overseas Employment is Increasing
The biggest difference between overseas and Korean employment is that it doesn’t matter so much about academic success, gender, or age overseas. In the case of Korea, many businesses say they don’t consider age important, but it’s true that the Maginot line of age for getting jobs exists. According to a survey on Job-Korea, the Maginot line of age for getting jobs is 31.9 years for men and 29.2 years for women. In the case of academic success, most overseas firms don’t require academic records or diplomas. Therefore, many young applicants who suffer from age, gender, and academic success restrictions in Korea can’t help but to feel that overseas employment is a good chance. Also, in the case of overseas employment, there is no work overtime at night, and employees can rearrange their working hours freely.
Japan: Opportunity Caused by a Population Cliff
High Employment Rate in Japan
Nowadays, Japan has the difficulty, not in job seeking, but in terms of a “labor shortage.” Japan’s unemployment rate recorded 2.8 percent last July. Why does Japan have such a high employment rate? The most important reason is the problem of a population cliff in Japan. The annual death reaches 1.3 million people but the annual number of newborns is usually one million, so the number of people in Japan has been decreasing for the last five years. For this reason, the working age population (from a 15-year-olds to 64-year-olds) also decreased. Not only this, the baby boom generation in Japan greet the age limit and retire, so there is a vacuum on labor forces. Therefore, many businesses face difficulties in finding new manpower. The Japanese government says their university graduate employment rate records 97.6%, and 68.7% of small businesses in Japan now go through manpower shortages. Besides, after enforcing Abenomics included a reduction in corporate taxes, businesses’ interests in Japan has been improved, and businesses in Japan provide more job opportunities, so it also influences the rising of the employment rate in Japan.
Young Koreans’ View of Employment in Japan
Due to the labor shortage mentioned above, Japan has showed a positive manner towards foreigner employment. In 2016, the number of foreign workers in Japan was one million people and its figure was 19.4% higher than in 2015. Korea also comes to influence foreigner employment extension in Japan. The number of Korean workers finding jobs in Japan was 48,000 people in 2016. Young Koreans who have already found jobs or are preparing for employment say that there are many ways in Japan. Also, Koreans are able to get jobs easily after preparing for from three months to one year. Furthermore, people are free to look for jobs without considering their majors at universities. Young people who like Japan’s company culture show interest to businesses in Japan.
Many business executives appraise young Koreans who work in Japan. Korean culture is similar to that of Japan, and lots of young people are proficient in English and faithful. However, there have not always been good results for young Korean people who get jobs in Japan. The annual income system in Japan is low at the beginning, although it gradually accumulates with bonuses. Therefore, many young people have a hard time waiting to get high wages. Also, some Koreans who have gotten jobs in Japan expected that they would undertake important global tasks, but their tasks were quite the same as they would have been in Korea, so they were disappointed.
Expectation for Developed Countries?
Singapore is a city-state comprised of 5.5 million people. The per capita GDP is over fifty thousand dollars, and this figure is similar with other developed countries. The biggest worry in Singapore’s job market is the increasing number of retirees. Also, as the rate of increase in population in Singapore also decreases, a “labor shortage” is also expected. For these reasons, Singapore is still opening their job market to foreign workers supportively. So, lots of young people in Korea could also get jobs in Singapore. Many global businesses, sales work, and service industries have been main stages for our young people. However, Singapore’s people are opposed to a high dependence of foreigner employment, so a control policy for foreigner employment started in 2013. Compared with the rate of foreign employees in Singapore reaching 70% for a time, it is true that getting a job becomes much harder. Nevertheless, if you are an experienced person or have a technical qualifications certificate, you will be stabilized in Singapore.
The United States in one of the countries that young Korean people want to work for. The unemployment rate in the U.S. has been gradually decreasing, and recently maintains a 4 percent range. Although the unemployment rate in America is somewhat low, the job market in the U.S. is not favorable only for Koreans. Because lots of great talented people in many countries gathered in the U.S., job seekers have to be recognized for their abilities, not races or ethnicity. In case of immigrants, employment in the U.S. is rather difficult. In order to get jobs in the U.S., immigrants should be interviewed for obtaining permanent residency. However, federal immigration authorities in the U.S. said they plan to toughen up the interview process. Recently, talents from all over the world are active in the western part of the United States, including California. Because IT industry is developed in the western United States by centering on Silicon Valley. So, many businesses are competing to select talents, such as developers and designers, for the IT industry. American companies place the most importance on job seeker's abilities. Also, they value not academic background or English score but the story "Why job seeker wants to do this job".
Developing Country: The Land of Opportunity
For a while, getting a job in developing countries, such as Southeast Asia or Central and South America, was far away. There are many countries that could not afford to have social infrastructure, so people wanted to get jobs in developed countries rather than those regions mentioned above. However, recently, the number of people who find employment in developing countries has been gradually increasing. Why do developing countries receive attention in terms of employment? One of noticeable reasons is social infrastructure has improved compared to the past. Also, if young people want to find jobs in developing countries, they can work in a wide range of jobs and have more power than in Korea, such as dealing with lower management. In a word, they can work as a “manager.” Working in high positions, Korean young people can be guaranteed high-level welfare conditions while spending their time freely.
The representative example is Vietnam. Korean young people show their ability as a “managers” in Korean companies that are founded in Vietnam. Also, there are many programs to help young people to settle in Vietnam. One example is the “Gybm” program of Dae-woo Group. Through this program, youth become proficient at the local language and learn business management. A large number of young people who want to challenge new things participate in this program every year.
For young Korean people who broaden their work experience abroad, we will do better, while those who are in Korea will think that their passion to seek the goal is worthy of praise. But on the other hand, it is sad to send away so many outstanding individuals caused by conditions of our job market. However, all these young adults are trying to seek ways to escape the Korean job market. Some of them just find their dreams in other countries, so they don’t stop their challenging. We hope they become the best in their fields.
< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >