With job openings in Korea adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of young job seekers preparing to take examinations for government jobs or large conglomerates has risen to an all-time high of 850,000. This means three out of 10 young job seekers are studying for a civil servant examination.
According to the data released by Statistics Korea on Tuesday, the number of young job seekers preparing for examinations to get jobs increased to 859,000 in May, up 55,000 from the same period of last year, among economically inactive people aged between 15 and 29. This is the highest number since data collection began in 2006.
The biggest share of them (32.4%) were preparing for exams for government jobs, up 4.1 percentage points from the same period of last year (28.3%). More female job seekers (34.6%) were preparing to become a public servant than male job seekers (30.4%). About 22.2 percent of them said they were planning to land a job at private companies. The proportion of young job seekers looking to become a public servant has increased as the pandemic has led to fewer job openings for private companies.
The young employed stayed at their first job they landed after graduation or dropping out of school for an average of one year, six months and three days, up 21 days from a year earlier. It appears there was tendency to stay at their first job longer than before as the number of decent jobs has reduced due to the pandemic and prolonged unemployment crisis. “As leave of absence practices increase and businesses shut down in the aviation and the restaurant industries, young people seem to prefer job security,” said Kim Tae-ki, economics professor at Dankook University.