Graduate job seekers to outnumber employment openings for next 10 years

Graduate job seekers to outnumber employment openings for next 10 years

A government report showed Tuesday that the number of university and college graduates will exceed demands in the job market by 792,000 from 2014 to 2024.

According to a Labor Ministry report on job prospects by college degree, 3.02 million four-year university graduates and 1.72 million two-year college graduates are expected to enter the job market from 2014-2024. But the number of available jobs for them in that time will be roughly 2.69 million and 1.25 million, respectively.

The report pointed out that the working population will continue to shrink as the country sees a consistent decrease in birthrate and student population. The number of high school graduates marked 630,000 in 2014, but is expected to slump to 400,000 by 2024, added the report, released amid the government’s push to reform the labor market, citing a need to create jobs for the nation’s youth.

“The job mismatch will improve in the next 10 years, as the number of college graduates continues to decrease. But the excess supply (of labor) will persist,” the report said.

For four-year universities, the most notable case of excess supply was found among social sciences, education and humanities majors, which exceeded demand by 217,000, 120,000 and 101,000,
Officials said the low demand for teachers was a direct result of the reduced student population.

Reports have also indicated that graduates of humanities-related majors have trouble getting hired. According to Korea Educational Development Institute’s study on the employment rate of graduates from higher education institutes in 2014, 58 percent of humanities majors found work as opposed to 75 percent of engineering majors.

Social sciences and natural sciences majors were profoundly overcrowded among two-year colleges, which respectively surpassed demand by 228,000 and 139,000.

But both four-year universities and two-year colleges were in short supply of engineering majors, at 215,000 and 43,000, respectively. Job openings for university medical students and humanities majors from two-year colleges exceeded the supply of graduates as well, by 40,000 and 18,000, respectively.

The Labor Ministry said the report highlighted the need for policies to minimize the job market mismatch, such as providing job counseling for college students and aiding job-finding efforts, and finding ways to ensure that a foreign workforce inflow does not compromise local job seekers.

It also called for college reform based on demands for each major, in keeping with the Education Ministry’s 270 billion won ($228 million) project for “fostering talent that meets the needs of the society.”

The plan essentially provides financing for college and university restructuring efforts to expand departments that have boasted high employment rates for its graduates.


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