Skill mismatch worsens since 2009

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Skill mismatch worsens since 2009

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Skill mismatch has become more severe across the nation since the subprime mortgage crisis, as demand for white-collar jobs has increased more sharply than the number of available positions, according to a recent report by Bank of Korea (BOK).

Data from the report showed that the overall labor demand and supply mismatch index - showing the degree of mismatch between job seekers’ skill sets and the labor market’s demands - was 26.3 nationwide.

This means that over 26 out of 100 people have to work at a job unsuited to their background or talents to gain employment.

The figure was 21.2 between 2008 and 2009.

The average mismatch was highest in Chungcheong, at 30.1, followed by 27.8 recorded for the country’s southeastern region that includes Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang.

Daegu and North Gyeongsang saw the sharpest spike in their mismatch index figures at 26.6, up 11 points from the 15.6 recorded between 2008 and 2009. North and South Jeolla saw a 6.7 point increase, while the southeastern region increased 5.4 points.

The Seoul metropolitan area saw the mismatch rate increase by 0.8 point to 26.1 from 25.3, far lower than other parts of the country, as there are more white-collar and research jobs in the region.

As of 2013, 57.4 percent of major corporate headquarters and 63.5 percent of research and development organizations were located in metropolitan Seoul, according to the BOK report.

Meanwhile, the skilled labor sector showed a negative mismatch, with more jobs available than workers qualified to fill them.

The biggest mismatch was seen in Chungcheong, at negative 21.8 percentage points, followed by the southeastern region’s negative 19.9 percentage points. Seoul metropolitan recorded negative 18.1 percentage points. The overall nationwide average was negative 18.6 percentage points.

In contrast, white-collar jobs showed a positive mismatch, with the national average at 18.6 percentage points. Figures for Chungcheong and metropolitan Seoul recorded 22.1 percentage points and 19.8 percentage points respectively.

“An increase of college graduates has limited the supply of skilled laborers, while demand for white-collar jobs has increased, worsening the mismatch,” said Kim Young-keun, an official in charge of regional economy at the BOK.

“Demand for skilled laborers at small- and medium-sized companies has increased, but people shy away from those jobs due to higher labor intensity and lower wages, contributing to the mismatch,” Kim said, adding that the government needs to make efforts to improve the laborers’ working conditions to boost demand.


BY PARK JUNG-YOUN [park.jungyoun@joongang.co.kr]

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