Owing to the aftermath of COVID-19, the employment rate dropped to an all-time low since 2011 for the South Korean job seekers with the diplomas from four-year universities, vocational colleges, and grad schools. The data found that it dealt a disproportionately harder blow to females who graduates from the departments of humanities in non-metropolitan areas.
On Monday, the Korean Education Ministry surveyed 553,521 people graduated from college or grad schools in August in 2019 and February 2020 to release an employment statistics of job seekers with a tertiary educational background in 2020.
According to the data, the employment rate stood at 65.1% in 2020, falling 2 percentage points from the previous year to hit the rock bottom since 2011 when the statistics began to be compiled. “Those surveyed are the first generation of job seekers since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the pandemic has made a clear impact on their employment,” said an official from the education ministry.
Respondents who studied humanities at college reported to have born the brunt of the job crunch. Their employment rate, at 53.5%, was one of the lowest, marking the steepest fall on a year-on-year basis among all departments. The employment rate for schools of medicine and engineering respectively posted 82.1% and 67.7%, boasting a relatively higher level of employment. “It is nearly impossible for the students from departments of humanities to pass the open recruitment of large companies, and many of them are preparing for a test for certification to become an account or a labor lawyer,” said a 26-year-old job seeker surnamed Lee, who is studying language and literature at a college in Seoul.
By region, job seekers from non-metropolitan areas were hit harder. The employment rate of metropolitan college stood at 66.8%, higher than 63.9% of non-metropolitan areas. The employment rate of men (67.1%) was higher than that of women (63.1%), the on-year fall of employment rate for men was smaller than women.