South Korea’s university graduate employment rate low among OECD countries (report)


SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) – South Korea ranks at the bottom of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) membership in terms of the employment rate of university graduates, mainly in due to a serious mismatch between their specialties and job vacancies, a report showed Thursday.

The employment rate of South Koreans aged 25 to 34 with a university degree stood at 75.2% in 2020, the 31st lowest among 37 comparable OECD member countries, according to the report by Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).

The figure is well below 90.6% for Great Britain, 88.4% for Germany and 87.8% for Japan.

Only Sweden, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Costa Rica and Colombia have lower rates. There was no comparable figure for Chile.

KERI, the research arm of the Federation of Korean Industries, or the family conglomerate lobby, cited a mismatch between college graduates and job vacancies.

South Korea’s university graduate mismatch rate was 50 percent, the highest among 22 comparable OECD members.

Also responsible is the fact that job growth for those with higher education has failed to catch up with the increase in the number of university graduates.

The number of university graduates grew at an average annual rate of 3% between 2013 and 2020, while the number of jobs for university graduates and above increased by 1.3%.

KERI also said the ratio of university graduates out of the labor force stood at 20.3% last year, the third highest figure among the 37 comparable OECD members.

The think tank called on the government to eliminate employment-related regulations and step up efforts to make the country’s labor market more flexible.


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