S Korean youth unemployment worse than during financial crisis

Seoul, Sep 29 (IANS) Unemployment among young South Koreans is worse than the level reached during the global financial crisis, a state-run think tank said on Tuesday, calling for urgent measures to tackle the problem.

The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) said in a report that overall conditions for young people just entering the job market are worse than in 2009, when the country and the world at large, was still struggling with the 2008 global economic crisis, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“In the past several years there has been a steady improvement in the country’s job market with more regular employees being hired, but such positive changes have not affected young people,” KIET said.

“There has been deterioration in the quantity and quality of work open to young people.”

According to the report, the employment rate for people in their 20s stood at 57.4 percent in 2014, down from 58.2 percent in 2009.

The report also showed conditions facing young people in the launch of new businesses were also bleak. The number of self-employed among those in their 20s fell to 170,000 in 2014, down from 200,000 in 2009.

KIET said difficulties facing young people largely stems from the “dual labour market” structure found in the country where there is a wide gap between full-time regular employees with stable jobs and good pay and non-regular workers who have far less job security and get paid less.

The think tank said to overcome such challenges there is a need by all sides to ease the dual labour market structure. It said large companies and small and medium enterprises need to work more closely to tackle such issues.

“The government should increase incentives to companies that hire more people, while at the same time taking steps to remove administrative red tape that is holding up investment and hiring,” KIET added.

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