Korea's young workers

The Korean economic wave continues forward, with strong growth and low unemployment expected in 2008-2009. But the upsurge appears to have left some younger people behind. True, at 10%, Korean youth unemployment is below the OECD average of nearer 15%, and though the country has a lower employment rate, this reflects a much lower school drop-out rate and high participation in education.

However, youth employment has in fact declined quite sharply since 1996, while, unlike the OECD average, unemployment has risen. More needs to be done, says a new report, Jobs for Youth: Korea.Click here for larger graph. Over a third of young workers get trapped in so-called “non-regular” short contracts with limited career prospects, while many graduates cannot find jobs to fit their skills. Jobs for Youth: Korea identifies several reasons. First, the rapid expansion of tertiary education has led to skill mismatches. Second, regulatory obstacles deepen divisions in the job market. And third, unemployed youth, particularly those with less qualifications, need more support when seeking a job. The report makes several recommendations to update the education system and labour market regulatory framework, including to better link education and work, reform employment protection legislation, and prioritise less qualified youth.

Jobs for Youth: Korea is the latest in a series by the OECD covering some 16 countries. Order it at www.oecdbookshop.org.

©OECD Observer No. 264/265, December 2007-January 2008

Economic data

GDP growth: -9.8% Q2/Q1 2020 2020
Consumer price inflation: 1.3% Sep 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -17.7% exp, -16.7% imp, Q2/Q1 2020
Unemployment: 7.3% Sep 2020
Last update: 10 Nov 2020

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