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[Editorial] New Job Quality Falling

Posted September. 17, 2007 03:11,   


Five years ago, Roh Moo-hyun, one of the presidential election candidates, made a public commitment that he would create 500,000 jobs every year for a total of 2.5 million new jobs during his tenure in office.

According to the Korea National Statistical Office, the number of employed people as of last month was 23.458 million, up 1.235 million (5.6 percent) from five years ago. In terms of the manufacturing industry, the number of job posts has dropped around 60 thousand every year, except in 2004 when the number of jobs rose in a short-term run. At the same time, the number of positions in the business, electricity, gas, and waterworks industries increased by 50 percent every year over the past five years.

However, the business activities positions, which increased in number, have a lot of problems in quality. In terms of business support activities, where the number of people employed in business activities highest (42.6 percent), the annual value added per capita from them amounts to 24.11 million won, lower than that of the lodging industry (25.31 million won).

Most are non-regular employees in charge of business facilities maintenance and management services, human resources supply and employment, good offices, security services, building and workplace cleaning, credit inquiry and debt collection. The number of people employed in the information processing and other computer-related business and research and development businesses whose value added totals are relatively high, is 15.4 percent and 7.4 percent of all business activities positions, respectively.

Nevertheless, the government said last week, “The number of people employed in high value-added business activities is on the increase. The employment conditions are becoming more favorable.”

The government’s statement above is scarcely reliable. We should recognize that we have a seriously weak job post structure compared to advanced nations.

The most significant point in evaluating the government’s performance is how many high-quality jobs the government creates. Job positions are at both the beginning and the end of the welfare spectrum.

President Roh said in June, “I can boldly say that economy should be dealt with by the Participatory Government.” However, the Roh administration has failed to promote much quality job creation.

The current crop of presidential candidates also advocates creating millions of to tens of millions of jobs, election pledges that will not happen easily.

Indeed, it is a worse policy to waste taxes on creating so-called “social jobs.” It must be a priority matter to promote a real market economy, not a populist leftist economy.