College graduates in Korea on average must seek jobs for an average 11 months, underscoring the gravity of the youth job market.
According to data released by Statistics Korea on Tuesday, it took 10.8 months on average to find the first-time regular job after they finish school as of May this year.
The time spent on landing the first job as been lengthening. It took an average 10 months for young job seekers to become paid workers in 2015, 10.2 months in 2016, 10.6 months in 2017, and 10.7 months in 2018.
Data also showed that among 9.073 million youth aged between 19 and 29, 4.683 million fell under the category of economically inactive population as of May, referring to those jobless or between jobs. Among the economically inactive population, 714,000 or 15.3 percent of the total, studying for jobs such as the government employee and other state exams. The number of young people preparing for job tests added by 88,000 from a year ago due to lack of new job openings in the private sector. It is the highest figure since the agency began compiling related data in 2006.
Data showed that wage level for entry-level employees was higher this year, with fewer youths receiving less than 1.5 million won ($1,273) a month at their first workplace while more received between 1.5 million won and 2 million won.
Although young people struggle to get their first jobs, data showed that two out of three quit work.
The number of wage earners that quit their first jobs accounted for 67 people of the total, up 4.2 percentage points from a year ago. Their average working period was 13.6 months, down 0.3 months during the same period, data showed. Overall average working period for employees at their first workplace was 17.3 months, down 0.6 months from last year.
Reasons for quitting included unsatisfying working conditions (49.7 percent) such as wage level and working hours.
Meanwhile, 33 percent of current workers were at their first jobs, down 4.2 percentage points from a year ago, data showed. More than 40 percent of the first jobs were in business, personal business, and public service industry sectors, followed by 29.4 percent in wholesale and retail and restaurant and accommodation industries, and 15.8 percent in mining and manufacturing industries.
By gender, the largest 31.6 percent of the first jobs for men were in wholesale and retail and food and lodging industries while 51.8 percent for women in business, personal business, and public service industry sectors.
By work type, 56.7 percent were permanent jobs, although without a set contract period, while 11.8 percent temporary jobs. Among jobs with fixed contract period, 24.7 percent were of less than a year jobs, and 4.4 percent more than a year jobs.
Meanwhile, 34.1 percent of all entry-level workers aged 15-29 received between 1.5 million and 2 million won as monthly salary, up 0.3 percentage points from a year ago, while 27.7 percent received between 1 million won and 1.5 million won, down 3.4 percentage points. Data showed that 18.1 percent received between 2 million won and 3 million won, 12.5 percent between 500,000 won and 1 million won, 5.1 percent 500,000 won or less, and 2.4 percent 3 million won or more.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]