This study seeks to identify the relationship between skill-oriented technological change and the low employment rate of low-skilled workers since the financial crisis, thus providing a policy proposal for the improvement in the low employment rate of low-skilled workers.
The slump in employment rates during the economic crisis was able to rise back gradually, but not up to the levels prior to the crisis. Such a low level of employment is being commonly witnessed among all classes, but is more distinctively noticeable among the classes with educational backgrounds lower than middle school graduates, commonly considered as low-skilled workers.
Technological changes and advancements play a great influence on the employment of low-skilled workers through various routes. Among the various factors, the change towards skill-oriented technological development can be regarded as a significant factor affecting the low employment of low-skilled workers.
With the increase in the employment of skilled workers since the economic crisis, the education premium on wages is increasing likewise, implying the possibility of a technological change with preference on higher skills. Such a change is seen to have quickly spread after the economic crisis and slowed down in the 21st century. In this context, the study defined skilled workers as a university graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree and examined changes in the employment level of skilled workers in two terms – inter-industrial change reflecting the fluctuations of the demand for goods between industries and intra-industrial change reflecting the preference towards higher skills. As a result, the degree of intra-industrial change which was around 72.0% between 1993 and 1997 increased to 89.1% between 1997 and 2001 but fell to 85.2% during 2001-2004. Changes in the importance of wages expressed separately in terms of inter-industrial and intra-industrial change produced similar results as well.
Local and international literature mentions Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a factor that brought about the technological change towards higher-skills. As ICT was drastically expanded after the economic crisis, its outcome seems to be related to the skill-oriented technological change. This is because the results of a regression analysis show that industries with a higher investment intensity for ICT show a faster increase in the preference for skilled workers. This implies that the preference towards skilled workers broadly increased in different industries since the economic crisis, reflecting the influence of other factors asides from ICT.
In an aim to propose policy directions to improve the low employment level of low-skilled workers, further research needs to be conducted by examining the specific changes of skill-oriented technological change, the impact of technological change on employment conditions and the interaction between technological changes and institutional frameworks.
경제위기 이후 기술변화가 미숙련 근로자의 고용상황에 미친 영향(The impact of technological change on the employment of low-skilled workers after the economic crisis)
|Series Title; No||정책포럼|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Industry and Technology < Science/Technology
Social Development < Employment
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|