Korea’s unemployable graduates

In South Korea, five Hyundai auto workers were fired for lying about their academic backgrounds. They claimed to be high school graduates, but really they hold college degrees. Korea claims to send more high school graduates to college than any other country — 82 percent — but earning a degree is no guarantee of employability. (This map says Canada has the highest university enrollment relative to population with Korea second.) From Chosun:

Our colleges today are little different from those of yesterday, despite the technological changes and the higher corporate recruitment standards and fiercer competition. As a result, while colleges produce hundreds of thousands of graduates every year, enterprises still complain that many recruits are not qualified or talented. Businesses spend upwards of W4.8 trillion (US$1=W937) per year re-training their college educated recruits.

Academic fraud is common in Korea, but typically involves non-graduates with phony college degrees.

The government has told universities to admit more low-income students to college despite the graduate glut.

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  1. superdestroyer says:

    Given the current Democratic candidates desire for everyone to go to college and to have the taxpayers fund it, the U.S. will soon be in the same position. Thousands of graduates from bottom tier colleges who are no prospects.

  2. There are still people living in South Korea? I thought they’d all moved to SoCal.

  3. I’ve been fired from a job for having a college degree, and I hadn’t even applied for it. I was actually just a thesis away from my M.A. at the time. Being between jobs in a recession (Carter was president), I was working off and on for Manpower. Some of the jobs were quite pleasant: working as a flagman for the phone company out in the country when it’s 68 degrees and breezy is very nice, except for the lack of bathrooms.

    One week they sent me to Pepsi to help deliver sodas all around the county — including to two prisons (men’s and women’s) and a home for the criminally insane, which was interesting. On Wednesday, I was told I was fired (by Pepsi, not Manpower). Apparently they were using Manpower to try out possible permanent employees and just assumed I would be interested in signing on full-time. (I’m a Coke drinker, myself, and wouldn’t have felt comfortable in a career delivering a product I dislike. Then again, I had the impression the pay was pretty good.) They apparently had an unwritten no-college-graduates rule. I certainly didn’t go around telling blue-collar workers I’d been to college and even grad school, and was annoyed that my driver wormed the information out of me and then blabbed about it to his boss. He had begged me not to tell his boss about his back troubles so he wouldn’t be fired, and I kept that promise, even after being fired myself, though I was sorely tempted to get a little payback.

  4. In his novel Friday, Robert Heinlein suggested a simpler solution than pressuring colleges to admit more students. Based on the fact that college graduates on average had higher incomes, the legislature of his fictional California Republic declared all adults to be college graduates.

  5. Catch Thirty Thr33 says:

    triticale – That sounds eerily like the North East Independent School District’s (San Antonio) policy of declaring ALL students in the top 10% of their graduating class “valedictorians”, and then turning the process of determining the actual valedictorian into a popularity contest.


  1. Dr. Weevil says:

    Overqualified To Deliver Pepsis…

    Joanne Jacobs links to a sad story about five South Korean autoworkers who were fired by Hyundai for not being high-school graduates: they were actually college graduates. My comment there seems worth posting here as well, with a bit of editing: