Don’t say “lower your standards”

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Don’t say “lower your standards”

The older generation often tells young job seekers, “It’s not that there are no jobs. If you lower your expectations, you will find plenty of places to work for.” They are not entirely wrong, but they simply don’t understand what young people go through these days.

Koreans in their 20s and 30s never experienced the industrialization that the older generation lived through. They grew up in an information, knowledge and media-driven society. They follow “intuition” and “emotion” rather than “substance” or a “metaphysical mindset.” Entertainer is the most coveted profession, and chef is often ranked high.

When they were young, they were taught to pursue what they like and to do what they want to do. How would they feel when they find that nothing they like or want to do is available when they look for a job?

When I was chairman of the Presidential Committee on Young Generation, I asked, “Why do young people get paid the minimum wage of 5,580 won [$4.70] per hour for a temporary job but don’t want a 20 million won salaried position?” A young man said, “I may be in a temp position now, but I have a dream for a far better position someday, and I will succeed.” Who can blame them and demand them to lower their expectations? They grew up in an environment where they don’t have to lower their expectations.

The preferred jobs of young people are in innovative services combining IT with health care, finance or high value-added services related to the meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry. In major OECD countries, the service industry makes up more than 75 percent of industrial production. But Korea is still trapped in a policy and system made in the conventional industrialization era. Laws that can open a new paradigm, such as the basic law on service industry development, are collecting dust in the National Assembly. It is regrettable that we cannot keep up with the trend of the times because of political interests.

by Shin Yong-han, Former chairman of the Presidential Committee on Young Generation and CEO of GL Investment

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