The Labor Ministry says around 68,000 jobs remain vacant. Despite corporate efforts to hire more workers to normalize management and production, companies have failed to find qualified candidates. In a survey, 25.1 percent of companies said nobody applied and another 23 percent cited a lack of qualified applicants. Big losses are in store for both job applicants and companies if the job vacancies remain unfilled at a time when countless youths face difficulty finding work. The governments failure to help youths find jobs is also a major problem.
In the first five months of the year, the number of workers in their 20s and 30s decreased 320,000 from a year ago, the biggest decline since 1999 shortly after the Asian financial crisis hit Korea. That figure has surpassed the governments initial forecast of 100,000 lost jobs this year. Unemployment will rise in the second half when temporary workers are laid off and corporate restructuring commences. Korea Economic Research Institute suggested that at least 300,000 jobs be created to prevent domestic demand from drastically worsening and economic growth from declining. It is very disappointing that 68,000 jobs remain vacant when people are scrambling to find work.
By sector, manufacturing has the largest number of vacant jobs with 24,000. More youths prefer to work in the service sector or at entertainment spots over smaller factories. Small and mid-size enterprises suffer from a labor shortage even when unemployment increases. The government needs to come up with policies giving benefits to those working at production facilities so that smaller companies can hire qualified workers.
The government also needs to strengthen its policy on supporting youth employment. The Labor Ministry runs 33 programs backing youth employment in seven sectors such as internships, global employment, vocational training, career consulting and entrepreneurship. The programs, however, have failed to meet the expectations of companies and job applicants. According to the National Statistical Office, 30 percent of youths seek advice from relatives, or teachers instead of resorting to public programs. The government should strengthen its service to help youths find jobs and make its programs more efficient. A wider variety of solutions are also needed to alleviate joblessness in the country.