Resolving the mismatched labor marketDespite the highest rate of students going to college among OECD member countries, young Koreans are wasting time in adding skills and licenses on the resume that are not required in the workplace and companies still make major investment in training their employees upon hiring as they don’t trust college education.
In order to address the excessively high rate of students entering college, and the consequent youth unemployment, the government is working on developing, utilizing and expanding “National Competency Standards: NCS” and spreading Korean-style apprenticeships, the so-called “Work-Study Dual System.”
12,000 field specialists, teachers and scholars participated in the development of NCS, a national standardization of work-related skills needed in workplaces. Up to last year, NCS for 847 jobs in 24 career fields had been developed, and the finalization and public announcement in July has established a systematic foundation.
This year, recruitment at 230 public agencies was based on NCS. Public and private companies that use the NCS system saw a decrease in the turnover rate of new hires. Also, the new hires were better suited to their jobs. Last year and this year, over 1,900 private companies used NCS to recruit and train new hires.
As of Sept. 8, 153 companies set up NCS-based customized training programs, and 24,042 student workers have received or are receiving systematic training upon being hired. The performance and adaptability of the new workers has drastically improved, and the turnover rate has gone down. Companies that introduced work-study programs say that it has improved productivity and competitiveness.
When companies, universities, junior colleges, specialized high schools and vocational training centers provide relevant education and training needed at workplaces and society recognize these skills and competencies over an academic background, the structural problem of youth unemployment will be resolved.