Screws tighten on male job seekers

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Screws tighten on male job seekers

The employment rate for Korean men in their 20s has sunk over the past 15 years, while the rate for women in the same age group has risen slightly, a research report said yesterday.

About three out of four men in their 20s, or 73.2 percent, had jobs in 1995, but the figure plummeted to 58.2 percent in 2010, according to a report by the Korea Labor Institute (KLI). In contrast, the female employment rate rose from 55 percent in 1995 to 58.3 percent in 2010, it noted.

Only 64.8 percent of men had jobs in 1998, and this fell further to 58.4 percent in 2009 as major financial crises rocked the Korean economy. The unemployment rate then edged down slightly in 2010, the report said.

The decline in male employment was mainly due to men prolonging their education, the KLI report said. More male students, who are required to serve over two years in the military, are opting for higher education or a leave of absence from school due to the dire job market.

The slight gain in employment among younger women reflects a rise in the number of graduates from among their ranks, it noted.

The total employment rate for both genders in their 20s stood at 58.2 percent in 2010, showing a considerable decrease from 63.5 percent in 1995, according to the think tank.

“Employment rates for males in their 20s have been on a long-term downtrend while those for women have been going the other way,” said Sung Jae-min, a KLI researcher.


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