South Korea’s latest big export: Jobless college graduates

SEOUL (Reuters) – Cho Min-kyong boasts an engineering degree from one of South Korea’s top universities, a school design award and a near-perfect score in her English proficiency test. Jobseekers look at recruitment advertisements during the 2018 Japan Job Fair in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2018. Picture taken on November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-JiBut…

SEOUL (Reuters) – Cho Min-Kyong boasts an engineering degree from one of South Korea’s top universities, a school design award and a near-perfect score in her English proficiency test.

But she had all but given up hope of finding a job when all her 10 applications, including one to Hyundai Motor Co, were rejected in 2016.

Help came unexpectedly from neighboring Japan six months later: Cho got job offers from Nissan Motor Co and two other Japanese companies after a job fair hosted by the South Korean government to match the country’s skilled labor with overseas employers.

“It’s not that I wasn’t good enough. There are just too many job seekers like me, that’s why everyone just fails,” said the 27-year-old, who now works in Atsugi, an hour southwest of Tokyo, as a car seat engineer for Nissan.

“There are numerous more opportunities outside Korea.”

Facing an unprecedented job crunch at home, many young South Koreans are now signing up for government-sponsored programs designed to find overseas positions for a growing number of jobless college graduates in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

State-run programs such as K-move rolled out to connect young Koreans to “quality jobs” in 70 countries, found overseas jobs for 5,783 graduates last year, more than triple the number in 2013, its first year.

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Editorial Staff

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