Same government, different employment rate
Same government, different employment rate
  • Park Kyoung-eun
  • 승인 2015.05.11 09:48
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Students are confused over the different employment rates reported by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Statistics Korea. The two bureaus have been applying different sets of criteria for the employment rate. The MOE counts graduates covered with national health insurance as being “employed.” However, Statistics Korea regards those who work for profit as little as one hour per week as “employed,” which is more flexible than that of the MOE. The employment rate is one of the most crucial factors in the MOE’s university evaluation, accounting for 15 to 20 percent of the evaluation. However, as the calculation methods between the two bureaus differ, experts have been casting doubts on whether the statistics are reliable enough to be used for evaluation. As the university evaluation largely affects the level of financial support from the MOE, the issue has become more controversial not only among experts but also among students.The MOE receives the data of employment rate from Korea Education Development Institute (KEDI) which collects universities’ employment rate twice a year. According to KEDI’s criteria, graduates who are provided with national health insurance, those who work on campus, in agricultural and fishery sectors, and overseas employees are regarded as employed. It excludes soldiers, foreign students and graduates that enter higher education institutions.On the other hand, Statistics Korea calculates the employment rate without taking into consideration the national health insurance coverage. For example, according to KEDI’s criteria, part-timers who are not covered with the health insurance are counted as “unemployed.” However, they are regarded as “employed” by Statistics Korea’s criteria.The difference is evident when comparing the number of people employed in the reports of the MOE and Statistics Korea. KEDI reported that 263 thousand graduates were employed in 2013, and the number decreased to 261 thousand the following year. On the other hand, Statistics Korea stated that 3 million 569 thousand people aged 20 to 29 were employed in 2013, and the number rose to 3 million 625 thousand in 2014. Statistics Korea argues that there is no problem because it collects data according to its particular needs and purposes.“Statistics Korea adheres to the standards that the International Labour Organization and other countries follow,” said Sim Won-bo, an official of Statistics Korea. “We are not the only ones that calculate employment rate by the current standards.”However, students argue that neither the MOE nor Statistics Korea fully mirrors the present conditions considering the fact that a large number of graduates get jobs as temporary workers. “The MOE and Statistics Korea’s different employment rate will confuse people,” said Kim Jung-hyun, a sophomore majoring in Journalism.Regarding such issues, universities are only concerned with the employment rate issued by the MOE.“We do not collect the data of employment rate from Statistics Korea and we only refer to the MOE’s statistics,” said an official from the Career Development Center. “It can be said that statistics from the MOE are more representative of university students, something we should be paying more attention to.”

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