Question 4 - Job search: do young graduates of higher education do better in France or in Korea?

In December I decided to take an inventory of our higher education by comparing France with other countries in the world. For the exercise to be more fun, I propose a quiz in 15 questions for three weeks (one a day from Monday to Friday from Monday 3 December). Each question will address one of the important issues of our higher education and the answer will be illustrated with a graph and explanations. At the end of the 15 questions, we will review the strengths and weaknesses of our higher education.

Yesterday, the question related to the salary premium that a university license (relating to the BAC) has on the labor market. Today we will address the question of the employability of young graduates of higher education by comparing France and Korea.

Question: Is the employment rate of young people aged 25 to 34 with tertiary education higher in France or in Korea?

reply: First observation, and this is not surprising, the employment rate increases with an increase in the level of training. For example, in most OECD and partner countries, better opportunities in the labor market are available for holders of higher education qualifications. This is particularly true in France, where 86% of 25- to 34-year-olds are employed with higher education, compared to only 50% of those without qualifications. This is one of the biggest differences in OECD countries (see chart).

The diploma is in France the best protection against unemployment or inactivity, and those who "leave" at school are very precarious afterwards. Furthermore, the fight against school leaving has been a priority for all governments since 2008. The result: the number of dropouts has increased in France from 150,000 to 100,000 in 10 years, a success, although efforts are still necessary. This is a powerful signal that also shows that when reforms mutually succeed each other in a coherent way, all progress is possible.

Employment rate of adults aged 25 to 34, by level of education and training (2016)

Source: OECD. Education at a Glance 2017

Also on this chart, it is interesting to note that the professional inclusion when leaving the educational system with a BAC pro or with a general (or technological) BAC is relatively similar in France. This is rather unusual in the OECD. In fact, in a large number of countries, secondary professional flows offer much better opportunities in the labor market than the general ones. Just look at Germany to convince yourself: employment rates are similar and high, whether you have a degree or a high school diploma. A reflection is therefore needed to evaluate these sectors in France. It should also increase the level of requirements in the programs, reflect on the training of trainers and develop alternation. An entire program.

After this digression on our school, we return to the superior and our question. The employment rate of graduates in Korea is much lower than in France, both when comparing high school graduates and when comparing those who have left the education system with a degree (or equivalent) in their pockets. It is surprising that we are constantly praising academic excellence (very real!) Of students in Korea. In reality, the reason for these low employment rates is twofold. Firstly, the rapid expansion of higher education in Korea has led to significant differences between the needs of businesses and the duration and demand for training. Today, 70% of young people have a higher education degree, they were barely more than 20% 30 years ago. As a result, many recent graduates do not find work that matches their abilities. They prefer to stay at the university because the contracts that are offered outside are often short-term and have no real career prospects. Another perverse effect of this situation of academic inflation, some students prefer to fail the exams to give themselves more time to get better grades and more chances to access the positions of their dreams.

However, this is not the only explanation for these low employment rates. Korea is also one of the OECD countries where the gap between men and women in the labor market is the highest. Only 69% of tertiary graduates are employed when, at the same time, 81% of men work. In comparison, the gap is much smaller in France, with 84% of employed women compared to 90% of men. Korean women often go into inactivity after graduation to start a family. It has even been encouraged in the past by the government, with Korea having the lowest fertility rate in all OECD countries (with less than 1.3 children per woman). The government takes the situation very seriously and tries for 15 years to reverse this trend. For this, he invested heavily in his early childhood system. The goal is to increase quality and make universal access to services possible for younger people to enable women to better reconcile employment and parenting.

To cope with rampant school inflation, the government has also invested to develop vocational courses in high schools and to encourage young people to work after graduation. For this reason, quotas were established for companies that recruited more graduates and prizes were offered to those who entered the labor market directly, without going through the box of the university.

It is clear that there is still a lot to do in Korea on the transition from employment to study. In France, we must act primarily on the less qualified, but also think of the attractiveness of some licenses that lack opportunities. Tomorrow, for the last day of the week, we will discuss the question of registration fees, a sensitive subject that is currently under discussion.

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