SEJONG (Yonhap) -- The unemployment rate for the age group of 20s and 30s with no career experience hit a record high in the first quarter, due largely to a sluggish recruitment market and preference for hiring experienced workers, government data showed Saturday.
The tally on the unemployed aged 20-39 who have never had a job came to 95,000 in the January-March period, recording the highest level since the government began to track related data in 1999, according to Statistics Korea.
Job seekers at a job fair. (Yonhap)
The number accounts for as much as 82.6 percent of the total of 115,000 with no career experience at all, the data showed.
Although the first-quarter figure tends to be high given that companies usually start hiring fresh graduates mainly in March, the tally is alarming and calls for measures since it is on a rising trend, industry watchers said.
It recorded 94,000 last year, consistently gaining from 72,000 in 2015 and 61,000 in 2014. In 2013, the tally stood at 46,000.
Even the tallies recorded during the two financial crises in 1998 and 2008 hovered below the first-quarter figure of 2017, the data showed.
The jobless rate among the 20-30 age group accounted for 14.5 percent of the total unemployment in the same age group, which stood at 653,000 as of end-March.
Industry watchers cited a growing preference by companies to hire experienced workers as a key factor that has led to such a grim tally, amid a highly competitive recruitment market.