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Over 24 Percent of Young South Korean Bachelor's Degree-Holders Are Classifed As "Not In Education, Employment or Training", National Assembly Research Data Says

by Therese Agcopra / Dec 27, 2015 09:21 PM EST
Some South Korean graduates have been classified as NEET. (Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)

One out of four South Koreans with a bachelor's degree is neither employed nor pursuing further education. This rate is the third highest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, The Korea Herald reported Sunday.

The National Assembly Research Service's interim report on education shows that 24.4 percent of people in South Korea aged 15-29 with a bachelor's degree as of 2012 were classified as "NEET", which means "not in education, employment or training".

South Korea's figure is twice the OECD average, which is only 12.9 percent. South Korea has the third highest number of NEET, following Greece (39.2 percent) and Turkey (24.5 percent)

5.1 percent of middle-school graduates and 22.9 percent of high school graduates were categorized as NEET.

The NEET was further classified into two divisions-those who are still looking for employment and those who are economically inactive and not seeking jobs. Over 80 percent of NEET in South Korea are classified under the latter division, which again is a lot higher than the OECD average of 54.4 percent.

"The reason Korea shows higher number of college graduates in NEET groups is that the well-educated young people tend to seek quality jobs by lengthening their job-hunting time," Lee Man Woo, who headed the research team, said.

The NEET numbers also include those who are preparing for state-administered exams such as for public servants and bar examinations for lawyers.

Youth unemployment is one of the biggest issues in South Korea, with the number of unemployed hitting a 10 percent high this year, The Straits Times reported Oct. 8.

Data from the Ministry of Employment and Labor said more than 1.1 young South Koreans are struggling to find jobs, with 32 percent of them employed as non-regulars in companies.

Meanwhile, the Chosun Ilbo reported that many degree-holders have landed jobs that do not match their field of study. The discordance between bachelor's degrees and jobs stand at 50 percent in South Korea.

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