SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 22, 2020 — According to a recent survey, those who participated in the “Youth Allowance” program do more active economic activities in getting a job or starting a business than those who did not join the program. The participants also show a higher positive rate in non-economic aspects, such as social trust, happiness level, and looking for an opportunity to make a comeback.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government conducted a survey of 200 program participants and 200 non-participant panels from August to September 2020. Regarding the combined rate of those who are or were engaged in economic activities this year, the participant group’s rate is 55.5 percent, a 13.5 percent point higher than the non-participant group’s rate (42 percent), meaning that more than 5.5 out of 10 persons in the participant group are working or worked for a business this year.
Meanwhile, according to a survey on the 2018 French Youth Guarantee program (Mission Locale), the participant group showed an 11.5 percent point higher employment rate (10 months after the program participation) than the non-participant group. Seoul’s survey result shows a similar pattern with the French version. Seoul’s Youth Allowance is similar to the French Youth Guarantee program in terms of providing a direct allowance and program support together.
The participant group of the Seoul’s Youth Allowance also shows its significant effect in non-economic and qualitative as well as economic aspects.
Compared to the non-participant group, the participant group shows a higher score as follows: 9.4 points higher in the match between the current job and aspiration, 11.1 points higher in satisfactory social relationship, 9.7 points higher in the existence of reliable acquaintances, 10.9 points higher in chances of recovery, and 7.2 points higher in subjective happiness level. The participant group highly appreciates the Youth Allowance in terms of improving the living conditions (84.4 out of 100 full points) and getting help in finding a job or preparing for starting a business (75.6 points).
The Youth Allowance program provides the unemployed youth with a time for being prepared to get a job, ensured living conditions and income stability through a direct subsidy. In addition, the supportive measures to encourage the participants to join vitality programs also show some achievements such as giving chances of recovery after failure and improving the social relationship and happiness level.
Even the youth who did not participate in the program are well aware of it. The rate of awareness among the non-participant group is 76 percent while the group gives a score of 61.4 points regarding the degree of the Youth Allowance being helpful for getting a job or starting a business. However, the mental health area does not show a clear effect of improvement between the two groups. This result implies the need of strengthening relevant policies to provide mental health support for the youth regarding COVID-19 related mental health care and the improvement in youth mentality and emotion management.
Since 2016, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has operated the Youth Allowance program for five years in a row (completed providing support for 53,589 persons). The city government announced to keep running this program next year. It is designed to provide the support one time in a lifetime for the youth aged from 19 to 34 who are unemployed two years after graduation.
Based on the implementation and achievement of Seoul’s Youth Allowance, the central government has established and conducted the Youth Job Search Allowance program starting from 2019. From next year, the “national support for employment,” an unemployment allowance, will be implemented as the first of its kind.
Kim Young Kyung, Director of the Youth Policy Services, said, “The Youth Allowance shows a huge effect in boosting economic activities including employment and a significant achievement especially in social and qualitative aspects. The Youth Allowance has established itself as the universal and critical national program to support the youth. As the young generation is increasingly suffering from social and economic pain caused by COVID-19, we need to expand practical and universal youth support policies such as the Youth Allowance.”