[EDITORIALS]Jobs for our next generationYouth unemployment is settling in our society as a structural problem. The unemployment rate of Koreans under the age of 29 last month was 7.8 percent, which is over 2.4 times higher than the overall unemployment rate of 3.2 percent. It means that more than half of the nation’s unemployed are under 29. The average rate of unemployed youth among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is only 1.9 times higher than their average unemployment rate. Our youth unemployment is much higher than that. Those Korean youths who found jobs took an average of 11 months after their graduation from school.
In a country where the rate of youth unemployment is high, it is difficult to utilize manpower efficiently in medium and long-term perspectives. In a situation of modern times in which the speed of change is so fast, learning on the spot while working at businesses is no less important than education our young people get at schools.
If the rate of youth unemployment increases, we will experience difficulties in securing human resources necessary for society. And there is also the danger that unemployed youths turn into socially unfit people and hurt the stability of society. That is the reason why the advanced countries provide comprehensive measures to cope with youth unemployment.
In Korea, the youth unemployment has long been a serious problem. A new word, itaebaek, meaning that more than half of Koreans in their 20s have no jobs, was coined a few years ago. However, there is still no comprehensive and effective plan to solve the problem.
The government said that it will spend more than 500 billion won ($431 million) for youth employment this year. But the projects are temporary measures such as distributing subsidies to businesses that employ young workers.
Youth who have experience in job training is only 19.5 percent of the total, and only 11.8 percent of them have received public job training sponsored by the government, according to a survey of the National Statistical Office.
That shows us that the government youth employment plan is insufficient. The fundamental plan to tackle unemployment lies in creating jobs by revitalizing the economy. In tandem, we must provide practical employment plans that involve job seekers, the government, unions and businesses.
If a high rate of youth unemployment persists for a prolonged period, the growth potential of the economy will decrease.