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Korea Economic Institute of America Presents:

HYBRID EVENT | The “Golden Ticket Syndrome” in Korea: How the Competition for Attractive Careers Leads to Low Youth Employment

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Event Date

December 15th 11:00am - 11:30am EST

Event Location

YouTube & KEI Conference Facility

Randall S. Jones
Distinguished Fellow
Korea Economic Institute of America
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Troy Stangarone
Senior Director and Fellow
Korea Economic Institute of America
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Event Video
Key Points

Here are some takeaways from the event:

  • Employment for young people is significantly below the OCED average, which is a concern given Korea’s shrinking population.
  • While the employment rate of young men has fallen for all age categories, the employment rate of women in the 25-29 and 30-34 age cohorts has risen, reflecting their higher rate of education, later marriage, and childbirth.
  • The effort to obtain a “golden ticket” is heightened by labor market dualism: those who do not succeed in education are much more likely to end up in non-regular jobs, which are low-paying and precarious.
Event Description

Avoiding precarious and lower-paid jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and as non-regular workers drive the zeal for higher education in Korea. Young people compete fiercely to enter good universities and land secure and attractive careers. In 2021, nearly three-quarters of high school graduates advanced to college or university. While the proportion of the 25-34 age group with university degrees in Korea is the highest among OECD countries, their employment rate is relatively low even as small firms confront serious labor shortages. The low youth employment rate has negative consequences for the young people concerned, including possible long-term scarring effects, and reduces family formation and life satisfaction. Moreover, it is damaging for the Korean economy, which faces the most rapid population aging among OECD countries. Low youth employment is due to a mismatch between education and the labor market, reflecting a large skill gap between highly-educated youth and older workers retiring from jobs that require less human capital. Dualism in the labor market (between regular and non-regular workers) and the product market (between small and large firms) encourages young people to queue for jobs in large firms and the public sector. Raising the youth employment rate requires breaking down dualism while reforming the education system.

Please join KEI for a discussion with Randall Jones, previously the head of the Japan/Korea Desk at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), on the youth employment chapter of the 2022 OECD Economic Survey of Korea.

You can read Dr. Jone’s chapter of the OECD Economic Surveys: Korea 2022 here –  Policies to Increase Youth Employment in Korea


This event will be a hybrid with a limited in-person audience.

If you would like to attend in person – please RSVP here (KEI)

To join us virtually via YouTube – please RSVP here (YouTube Live)