[VIEWPOINT]Enhancing women’s job successEach day, the news tells us how serious the unemployment situation is, particularly among young people. This shows that no age group can boast a stable employment rate. Instead of the “lifelong workplace” that we searched for traditionally, we must now search for a “lifelong job.”
The knowledge-information society requires people who can adjust to the new paradigm of the digital revolution. Unfortunately, our society is ill-prepared to provide such people. But it is not too late. Should the government, educational institutions and job-seekers all do their jobs properly, our future could be bright.
The importance of women workers is being emphasized as a way to enhance competitiveness. The knowledge-information society has reordered the industrial structure to be centered on the knowledge and service industries, highlighting female characteristics as a main force for competitiveness. Yet female college graduates still face a high barrier in employment and career development.
The biggest obstacle lies ahead for students who have majored in liberal arts. Schools must help enhance students’ prospects for finding employment, while students must analyze the employment market to see what jobs they would like and put their skills to best use.
The second obstacle for women is the difficulty they face in continuing to build their careers without disruption. Women often find themselves giving up their jobs to raise children, and when they return to work they are frequently employed as temporary or irregular workers. A fundamental reform is needed to enable women to balance their careers and families.
The third barrier concerns leadership. Women job-seekers have a disadvantage in numbers, and only a few become administrators or leaders in a working environment that does not make it easy for women to form solidarity with one another. Firms should provide adequate working and educational opportunities to women and open possibilities for them to grow as leaders. Schools should also provide leadership education and activate the necessary network to help produce women leaders.
The “education system that guarantees a lifelong job,” the mentor program that involved an external advisory board and professors and the leadership program conducted by the Sookmyung Women’s University are some of the efforts to this end. By allowing students to have contact with major companies, we are helping women prepare for the workplace. With the increasing number of graduates of such programs, a network is also being created. It is a social waste when educated women lose hope every time they fail to get a job they applied for. All parties must brainstorm in preparing for employment with a lifelong job in mind.
* The writer is a professor of business administration at Sookmyung Women’s University. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Kang Jung-ae