SEJONG: The number of high school graduates who found employment has surpassed the 10 million mark last year and accounted for roughly half of all newly hired workers in 2014, a government report showed on Monday.
The total number, tallied at 10,105,000, represents the highest number on record. It is a 2.7 percent increase compared to 2013.
It took 18 years to reach the new threshold after the number hit the previous significant level of 9 million. This also marks the first time in 13 years that the percentage of high school graduates landing jobs exceeded the national average.
Of the total 533,000 new workers hired last year, 50.5 percent, or 269,000, were people with high school diplomas.
The increase, in addition, pushed up the percentage of high school graduates in the workplace from 39.2 percent in 2013 to 39.5 percent last year. The total is not as high as the 44.4 percent reached in 2001, but the rate of increase is still noteworthy, the statistical office said.
The employment rate for high school graduates edged up to 62.1 percent last year from 61.1 percent in 2013.
Records show that the number of high school graduates in the workplace rose until the 1990s and has remained relatively fixed since, while college graduates started to outnumber them from 2011 onward.
“There was a time when high school graduates lost ground in the job market, yet in the past few years, there has been a steady increase,” an official said.
He linked the increase to fewer people going to college from the late 2000s.
The percentage of high school students going on to college peaked at 83.8 percent in 2008 but dropped to 79 percent in 2010 and fell further to 70.7 percent in 2013.