Jobs should be the focusJobs are the best solution to welfare. If there are secure jobs, the state does not have to fret about a broader welfare system. The Korean economy is living proof. Because rapid economic growth generated jobs, the government didn’t need to greatly bother with welfare. We expected the ruling and opposition parties to come up with solutions that led to jobs. A political party that can create more jobs is more qualified to govern the country than one that pledges more welfare benefits. In a survey by the JoongAng Ilbo, the majority of young voters said they would cast their ballots based on candidates’ ideas on jobs.
But the campaign promises about jobs from both the ruling Saenuri and main opposition Democratic United Party are equally disappointing. The DUP pledged to place jobs at the center of all policies, while the Saenuri Party said it would consider the unemployment rate as its economic yardstick. But in reality, jobs were eclipsed by welfare promises. The DUP vowed to create a universal welfare state, and the Saenuri Party promoted 10 so-called tailor-made welfare policies. Jobs were basically ignored.
In the Hankyoreh newspaper, university students were quoted as saying they had no idea what political parties were trying to say with their campaign promises about jobs. They laughed at the Saenuri Party’s proposal to create a degree-free vocational center and said if they had extra money they should give it to universities to support job searches for their graduates. The DUP’s idea of setting up quotas for companies to hire youths irked the 40-50 age group.
What young people want is not rhetoric and unrealistic ideas but fundamental solutions to create jobs. The answers are already there, but the parties are ignoring them because they aren’t flashy enough to draw votes.
The services sector has more room to generate jobs than the manufacturing sector. Due to technology, the more a manufacturer produces, the fewer the humans that are needed. New hiring mostly comes from the services sector. But those jobs are mostly insecure. The services sector should be enlarged, especially medical care and legal services, which can create high-paying jobs.
Secondly, the rigidity of the job market must be eased. The cost of dismissal in our country is nearly triple the average of the member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Nonpermanent jobs are on the increase. The political sector must address the problem of labor unions’ excessive powers.