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College grads face difficulty finding work in their major

Mar 09,2017
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Jeong Eun-hye majored in law at one of Seoul’s top universities and long dreamed of becoming a public prosecutor. But as graduation drew near, she found herself submitting job applications to any place that was willing to hire, from public institutions to small companies in various sectors.

“I used to think I would be doing something related to law, even after I gave up becoming a prosecutor, but under such a harsh job market, it’s hard to stick to my major when choosing jobs,” Jeong said.

Jeong graduated three years ago and has yet to land a steady job. After graduating law school, she submitted applications to over 100 jobs, but aside from a year as an intern at a public research institution where she performed basic administrative work, she hasn’t had much luck.

As Korea’s job market remains tepid, more job seekers like Jeong are having a hard time landing work that aligns with their college majors, according to survey results released by employment website Job Korea on Wednesday.

While 71.7 percent of 706 job seekers who participated in the survey said they hoped to find jobs in their major, only 45 percent of the 1,391 workers surveyed said they actually landed jobs aligned with their major.

Breaking down the 706 job seekers by majors, 82.6 percent out of 213 science and engineering majors said they wanted jobs related to their field of expertise, marking the highest rate, followed by business and economics majors.

In the field, liberal arts and humanities majors had the lowest job-to-major consistency rate, as only 33.2 percent of employees who majored in the field said their job is related to their studies.

“As finding jobs becomes difficult, many job seekers are broadening their search to fields only partly related to their majors,” said Byun Ji-sung, a director at Job Korea.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]