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Average Age of College-Educated Recruits Rises by 15 Months

Average Age of College-Educated Recruits Rises by 15 Months

Posted January. 06, 2004 22:51,   


Rising Average Age of First-Time College-Educated Recruits--The average age of the first-time employed college graduates rose by 15 months in the first half of 2003 compared with the second half of 2001, according to a survey jointly conducted by job portal site Job Link and Dong-A Ilbo of the 5,984 college graduates who have been newly hired.

The average age of 3,857 college graduates – 2,156 men and 1,701 women – who found jobs in the period of November 2001-January 2002 was 27.5 while 2,127 people – 936 men and 1171 women – who were hired during the six months between November 2001 and January 2002 averaged 28.8 years old.

The aging trend is more evident among new corporate recruits.

The average age of new recruits at Doosan Group rose by 1.5 years last year compared to 1997. It rose by 0.7 years at KDF. The average age at Hanhwa Co. edged up 0.88 years in 2003, compared to 2002.

The increasing number of graduate degree holders and longtime job seekers waiting to get popular jobs in media or at public corporations helped increase the average age, the survey found.

The average age of marriage, an issue closely tied to employment, was 29.9 for men and 27.0 for women in 2002, compared to 28.6 for men and 25.7 for women in 1997, according to the latest data of the Korea National Statistical Office (NSO).

Longer Job Seeking Period and Higher Education Level-- Chun, a 26 year-old female who has been studying at college for eight years, plans to take one course in her current ninth semester. Although she has already completed all required credits for graduation, she wants to stay at school to ready herself for finding a job. “It’s sort of fortunate that I will be allowed to pay one-third the regular tuition if I take just one course,” she said.

According to NSO data, on average it took about 12 months last year for wage earners between 15-29 years old to get hired since they started the search, a one month increase from 2002.

While the youth population decreased by about 260,000 in 2003, year-on-year, the number of college students on leave of absence went up by 13,000.

A survey conducted by Dong-A of 3,298 students who graduated from Chung-ang University in 1997 and 5,280 students who will graduate in February 2004 showed that the average time spent at college went up by two months and the average graduation age up by nine months.

Rising Welfare Costs and Engulfing Generation Conflict-- “The entry barrier of the labor market has become higher. It takes more time for job seekers to find good jobs,” opined Prof. Cho Dae-yeo of the Sociology department at Korea University.

However, corporations are skeptical about such investment of time.

“Although the new recruits may have excellent English language skills or computer skills, this does not mean that they are more capable than employees with five or six years experience,” said a recruiter at Doosan, adding, “Education that cannot be used on the job is a waste of social resources.”

“The current trend is taking place congruously with the aging of society. It will reduce the working population and increase social costs related to the trend,” said Yi Byong-hee, researcher at the Korea Labor Institute. “Their delayed economic independence will increase the population of the U-turn generation who live with parents.” Kim Chung-han, another researcher at the institute, said. “The increasing number of the youth who cannot be part of the social institution itself could factor in the destabilization of society.”

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