If a government plan on job creation for young people is implemented as scheduled, 71,000 jobs will be added to the public sector such as at fire and police stations, state-run university hospitals and publicly funded think tanks and through internships at small and mid-size companies and support for overseas employment by 2012. This is encouraging news at a time when employment for those aged 15-29 is as low as 40.5 percent (as of last year) and the country has a shortage of more than 45,000 jobs for college graduates every year. This is not enough to resolve the problem, however, since demand falls far short of supply in the job market. Another problem is the feasibility of creating jobs with tax money.
Wages for new employees in the public sector come from government coffers. The decision to scrap internships at government agencies and increasing them at small and mid-size companies shows how difficult it is to create jobs in the public sector. Interns at government organizations work for a short time and rarely get hired as full-time staff. In contrast, 80 percent of those working at smaller companies become permanent employees. To give the impression that it is doing its part, the government should strive to help the private sector create more jobs instead of creating low-quality jobs in the public sector.
Manufacturing hardly produces jobs favored by young people. The solution to youth unemployment should be found in health care and education, two sectors which have large potential for growth and the creation of high quality jobs.
The government has announced a job creation plan by allowing for-profit hospitals but the initiative was suspended due to opposition from the Health and Welfare Ministry. In August last year, an open hearing on deregulation of the service industry in areas like beauty care and car rental services was canceled due to obstruction from related businesses. President Lee Myung-bak has urged political parties to help pass measures on deregulating the service sector to create jobs as soon as possible, but deregulation bills on health care and education industries are languishing in parliament.
President Lee said Wednesday that too much power is concentrated in the president, apparently urging a constitutional amendment. Yet the Constitution bestows such power on the president to allow him or her to boldly perform national tasks. To create jobs, he should overcome collective selfishness and opposition from rival parties by exercising his full authority.