Eight out of 10 high school students are willing to work for a small or mid-sized company, according to a survey. The preference has traditionally been for a job with a big corporation.
The survey of 24,126 schoolchildren by the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training demonstrates a shift in attitudes among young Koreans as it becomes harder and harder to find jobs.
Some 77.5 percent of the 9,975 high schoolers who responded said they would work for an SME if offered good terms. Only 4.8 percent said categorically that they would not work for an SME.
Eight of 10 students in the survey said they are willing to find work straight out of high school and go to university later, suggesting that attitudes are also changing about a college diploma. Half the high school students surveyed (50.9 percent) said a university degree is necessary, while the other half (49.1 percent) said it is not.
Young Koreans increasingly prefer to gain work experience after leaving high school and then go on to pursue a college degree. Statistics show a decline in the number of high school graduates who go on to university.
According to the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, the proportion of high school leavers entering universities has fallen from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 72.5 percent last year.
"The preference for higher education stems from social bias, but the survey showed that students themselves often do not have that bias," said Oh Ho-young at KRIVET. "If it disappears from the job market, it should be possible to solve the shortage of workers faced by small and mid-sized companies and ease the surge in unemployed college graduates."