December 17, 2015 12:25
Nine in every 10 novice elementary school teachers in Seoul were women early this year, up from 8.5 five years ago.
This means that despite a 30 percent quota for male students at Seoul National University of Education, many more women than men passed the recruitment test. The proportion of women among nationwide primary and secondary school teachers increased from 52.6 percent in 2000 to 65.7 percent in 2014.
Women outnumber men in other sectors too. Last year, more female college graduates landed entry-level jobs than their male counterparts for the first time. More women have landed jobs even in engineering and construction, which are traditionally all-male sectors.
◆ Influx of Women
Last year, 327,186 college graduates landed entry-level jobs -- 165,706 women and 161,480 men, according to statistics released by the Education Ministry on Wednesday.
More women landed entry-level jobs than men because over 10,000 more female than male students graduated from college. Since 2009, women have overtaken men in terms of college enrollment rates. Last year, 74.6 percent of young women and 67.6 percent of young men went to university. And 284,719 female students graduated, outnumbering the 272,515 male students.
"Many male students enlist in the military after enrollment in college or drop out," an Education Ministry official said.
As a result, the number of female college graduates landing entry-level jobs has increased by 4,168 over the past three years, while the number of male graduates who found jobs dwindled by about 13,000.
◆ Pushing the Envelope
More female college graduates enter sectors beyond their traditional domains. In the past women often studied subjects like childhood education and nursing, but now there are virtually no boundaries for them.
Women are also pushing the envelope in the professional job market. They accounted for 38.6 percent of successful applicants in the bar exam and 48.2 percent in higher civil-service positions this year. They make up 24.4 percent of all doctors, 26.4 percent of dentists and 64.3 percent of pharmacists.
But they do not stay in the same job for as long as their male counterparts. Last year, 69.2 percent of women stayed at the same workplace compared to 76.9 percent of men.
"In a tough job market, it seems that some female college graduates take any job they can get at first and then prepare to find another job that suits them better," a researcher at the Korean Educational Development Institute said.
Prof. Song Bong-keun at Konkuk University said, "More young women will enter the workforce in the future if they're given more benefits including maternity and childcare leave.
Meanwhile, the overall employment rate was 67 percent last year, down 0.4 percentage points on-year.
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