Finding your first job now takes 10.8 months

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Finding your first job now takes 10.8 months

Young Koreans are taking longer to find their first job despite improvements in job market figures.

Statistics Korea reported Tuesday in its economic activity report for the country’s 15 to 29 age group that it took 10.8 months for individuals in the group to land their first job as of May this year, a rise of 0.1 months from the same month the previous year.


The period has fluctuated since May 2010, when it took 9.5 months for the age group to find their first job. It has steadily grown since 2015 when the job hunting period hit 10 months.

The longer time taken to secure a job indicates the difficulties young Koreans face, despite the age group’s employment rate actually rising by 0.9 percentage points to 43.6 percent in May from a year earlier.

According to the statistics agency’s data, among the 4.68 million economically inactive individuals in the age group, who are not included in the employment statistics, 714,000, or 15.3 percent, were preparing for exams to land a job in May this year. This is a rise of 2.2 percentage points from the previous year.

Of the 714,000 young Koreans preparing to enter the job market, 30.7 percent were studying for the civil servant exam, while 24.8 percent were preparing for certifications in skilled trades.

There were also 1.54 million people in the age group who did not find a job after graduating or dropping out of school, a rise of 54,000 from a year earlier.

Those who spent over three years without a job accounted for 16.9 percent of that group, an increase of 33,000 individuals, or 1.6 percentage points, from a year earlier.

Young Koreans also appear to be spending less time at their first jobs.

The average period spent working at their first job for salaried workers was one year and 5.3 months as of May 2019, a decline of 0.6 months from a year earlier.

Nearly half of first job leavers cited unsatisfactory working conditions as their reason for quitting.

Students are also spending more time at university, as the average time spent studying before graduation was four years and 2.8 months as of May this year, a rise of 0.1 months from a year earlier.

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