A quarter of PhD recipients from the prestigious Seoul National University are unable to find a job when they graduate. According to the 2011 SNU Statistical Yearbook released Monday, 289 out of 1,054 who received their PhD in August 2010 and February 2011 are either jobless or undecided about their careers.
This is equivalent to 27.4 percent of the university's PhDs and the most in the past decade. The proportion of PhDs in the jobless and undecided categories hovered between 14 and 15 percent from 2007 to 2009 but surged to 25.3 percent in 2010 and to 27.4 percent last year.
Fewer and fewer PhDs from SNU have been able to land jobs after graduation over the past years. The net employment rate among PhDs at the university, excluding foreign exchange students, those who remain in school and those who are drafted into military service, fell from 83.4 percent in 2009 to 70.3 percent in 2011.
The situation is the same for PhD candidates at the school. A recent survey of 252 PhD students nearing graduation showed that 20.2 percent were still undecided about their careers, almost double the 11.2 percent among Master's degree students.
Meanwhile, the most favored career paths among SNU doctoral candidates were post-doctoral programs abroad (23 percent), followed by academia (15.9 percent), private businesses (14.3 percent) and post-doctoral programs in Korea (9.9 percent).
"A shortage of jobs for PhD recipients is increasing not only at SNU but across society," said Nam Ik-hyun at SNU. "Unless we can make good use of highly educated workers, it will hinder long-term social development."