A problem confronting many young Koreans is one of South Korea’s biggest economic conundrums: there are not enough chaebol jobs to go round.
South Korea’s official unemployment rate for the under-30s is 8.3 percent, more than twice the national average. And although more than 80 percent of Koreans enroll in tertiary education, the chaebol provide only about 10 percent of jobs. Most worryingly for young Koreans, and the broader economy, the big names of Korean industry are increasingly forging their new growth abroad.
The result is that the so-called Itaebaek or "mainly unemployed 20-somethings" are looking for opportunities in the small and medium-sized enterprises inside Korea, where the stellar growth that pulled the nation out of the wreckage of civil war in the 1950s is long gone. During the boom years of the 1970s, the chaebols’ operations in Korea ensured the economy grew at 9 percent a year.