Thursday, January 9, 2014

Unemployment a Serious Problem of Society

No longer is it easy to find a job you would like to do for a lifetime, and even finding a job, any job, is increasingly difficult for our Korean young people, causing some students to delay graduation, even though having all the necessary credits for graduation. The arduous task of finding work is thought to be, for them, soul-depleting. 

A professor in the sociology department of a college discusses the plight of students in our society. Writing in the Peace Weekly, he notes that at graduating time, all colleges are on emergency alert. Since the number of students finding work after graduation is one of the considerations used by the education ministry to rank colleges, many colleges are involved in finding work for their students. They help write resumes and college reports, notify students of job offers, and prepare them for interviews. Teachers also get in contact with their acquaintances in the marketplace, requesting jobs for their students. Few are the colleges, the professor says, that are not involved in this.

Why should it be so difficult finding a job? he asks. From 2008-2009 this has been the reality in our society. There simply are fewer jobs available. Jobs for those in their twenties, especially, have decreased and, consequently, both in the city and in the country, competition is severe. Many companies have moved their operation to underdeveloped countries to take advantage of the lower cost of labor. And there is of course the use of automation and computers, which have taken much of the work previously done by humans. Our young people are brighter and more capable than in the past, and even though their grasp of specialized knowledge far exceeds that possessed by students of the past, finding work in today's marketplace is like being sent into battle without a weapon. 

The problem concerns not only the young people but also their families. In past times, once the money was given to the children for college, the worries would be over, it was thought, and the son or daughter would find their way in the world; that is no longer the case. Parents now have to worry about their finding a job, and worry every time they put in a written application for work; on the side line, parents worry as much as the young person submitting the application. When this lapse of time between looking for a job and finding one is long, the implementation of retirement plans for the parents in many  homes is put on hold.

Besides the scarcity of available jobs, there are a few other obvious problems, one being the large number of students going on to college. The number is more than the society can  absorb. Too many are seeing life and work with a one-track possibility, with academic studies the only viable option, which narrows the possibilities for the future. Social solidarity and relating with and understanding the different segments of society are missing. Instead, many students are bound by regional interests, age, occupational and societal class relationships, and find it difficult to compromise.

He concludes the article with the words of Pope Francis  to the unemployed:  "Lord give us a place to work. Teach us a way to fight for the work." The professor thinks they could find some consolation in these words, even though this is not the kind of issue that will be solved quickly. If, however, we take upon ourselves the idea of solidarity with all those who are facing the same problem and all the other segments of society, we will have found the beginning to a solution of the problem.

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