The key to creating jobsOver 500,000 college graduates are now without a job in Korea. Statistics Korea said that the number of people with a degree who are unemployed reached 543,000 in the first quarter, exceeding the 451,000 job-seekers with only a high school diploma. It is a waste of national resources to have so many educated people who cannot find a job.
Presidential candidates must be serious about this surge in unemployment. All of them promise to deliver more jobs, but their action plans are questionable. Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party proposes to create 810,000 jobs through 310,000 placements in the public sector and 500,000 through reduced work hours. But that cannot be a sustainable solution when a slow-moving economy does not create enough jobs.
Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party pledges to promote industries that can create new jobs and hire young people, women and senior citizens. Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberal Korea Party vows to make 1.1 million jobs — including 500,000 for young people — through the promotion of global and innovative enterprises and 320,000 through vitalization of the services sector.
If the promises end up only rhetoric, the next administration would be no better than the government under former President Park Geun-hye. Park held trade and investment promotion conferences 10 times and pledged sweeping deregulations and labor reforms to ease the rigidity and increase jobs. But due to her lack of communication skills, she failed to draw cooperation from politicians and labor unions.
What can help is the creation of regulation-free zones which the JoongAng Ilbo and JTBC proposed as a national agenda item. Companies and individuals also should experiment with bold innovations so that the country can take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution and create decent jobs. Voters will closely watch to see who is the best fit for the role.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 24, Page 34