Entry-level employees are getting a lot olderA 28-year-old man surnamed Jang recently got a job at a local investment company.
It wasn’t easy. It took Jang four years. Throughout those years, he remained in college postponing his graduation year after year. He believed, as many do in Korea, that applying as a potential graduate looked better than as an unemployed degree-holder.
Many of Jang’s peers approaching the milestone of turning 30 are struggling in the same way. The age of entry-level workers in Korea continues to get older, going beyond 30 in many cases, recent research shows.
Saramin, a Korean job-seeking portal, announced Monday that out of 649 companies they surveyed, 325 responded that they’ve hired entry-level workers in their 30s this year.
Some 423 companies, or 84.9 percent of the companies that actually hired new employees this year, confirmed they had at least one applicant over the age of 30. Among those newly hired by the companies, 31 percent were in their 30s.
“61.5 percent of 649 survey respondents, or 399 companies, added that they think the age of entry-level job seekers is rising compared to the past,” said the report.
The surveyed companies cited a number of reasons behind the new trend in the job market.
23.8 percent of survey respondents said a dearth of quality jobs in the market was the main reason, while 23.3 percent said job-seekers themselves have raised their standards too high. Some other reasons include the new technique of students postponing their graduations and a rising number of individuals with higher degrees.
Many companies were negative about the current trend. Some 35.6 percent of them agreed that hiring older recruits may throw the corporate hierarchy off kilter, which is serious in Korea because of the culture’s emphasis on age-based hierarchies.
Companies said there were some positive sides to older entry-level workers, since they have more experience compared to younger people.
For instance, Saramin said 46.9 of respondents admitted older recruits adjust to the corporate structure faster than their younger counterparts. Many displayed more loyalty to their companies, especially because it is more difficult for them to leave and land a new job due to their age, according to 38 percent of the surveyed companies.
About 20 percent of the companies, on the other hand, said the older employees lacked open-mindedness while 19.2 thought they were less passionate about their jobs in comparison to younger recruits.
BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [firstname.lastname@example.org]