Announcement of the 2013 Seoul City New Deal Opportunity Program
Date: March 4, 2013
Venue: Briefing Room, Seoul City Hall
Hello distinguished citizens of Seoul,
I am here today to solve the most difficult problem of our era.
In 1932, during the Great Depression, U.S President Franklin Roosevelt came up with a measure to create jobs and save the people from extreme poverty and anxiety. It was called the “New Deal” policy. Now, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will announce its own comprehensive program to create new jobs and save our citizens from the struggle of unemployment.
First of all, I will brief you on the reality of Seoul’s job market. Last year, the unemployment rate in Seoul was 4.2 percent. However, the “real” unemployment rate is believed to be over 11 percent. As the employment rate is 59 percent, nearly half of those who can work are actually jobless.
Due to these circumstances, the competition rate for employment in the public service sector among low-income job seekers is estimated to be 3:1 on average. The competition in some districts is even stiffer, with several hundreds of applicants competing for less than 100 positions.
The youth employment situation is far more serious. One week ago, many universities held their commencement ceremonies, and among the 92,000 university graduates in Seoul, only 45,000 have landed jobs. As youth unemployment is expected to remain high for quite some time, the future social costs will likely continue to increase.
In particular, the growth rate is expected to be two percent this year, and the employment rate has been dropping consistently since last October. A lack of jobs is a warning sign of a coming public crisis. Economic difficulties are growing, and the quality of life in terms of health, education, and culture is decreasing considerably, causing more and more families to collapse.
Employment is considered to be a human right, and is recognized as the best kind of welfare. Knowing this, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create good jobs that can improve the livelihoods of the citizens.
This year alone, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create 210,000 jobs by investing KRW 423.1 billion, which is an 8.9 percent increase over last year. As a first step, improvements will be made in public service employment. In addition to the existing budget for public service employment, which stands at KRW 276.4 billion, an emergency fund of KRW 21 billion will be created, and the Seoul City New Deal Opportunity Program will create 4,002 new jobs. Public service should aspire to two goals—the creation of jobs and improvement of city services. But, what were the conditions of public service jobs in the past? These jobs were insecure, menial, and temporary, and did not help workers to improve their skills or expand their career opportunities. In the rapidly-changing business environment, such jobs were regarded as unnecessary.
However, the situation has changed considerably over the years. The New Deal Opportunity Program will offer participants greater opportunities to find private jobs after completing the program, eliminate risk factors, address welfare blind spots, and create public service jobs in the area of urban safety.
I will now explain the New Deal Opportunity Program more in detail.
Through this program, public service jobs will be created for youth in an effort to relieve their struggles with unemployment. The young generation should explore the job market with new insight and vision of the future, rather than pursue the traditional concept of a job. By moving away from the traditional concept of a job—centered on manufacturing and conglomerates—a new economy and new types of jobs can be created. The “Youth Innovators” is a good example of youth employment in the public sector. These Youth Innovators will work for social enterprises, village communities, and non-profit businesses. Also, about 200 “Commute Time Safety Helpers” will be recruited to help kids who play alone or leave school late.
“Youth Culture Geographers,” who are tasked with searching though and summarizing large volumes of data on culture, history, and architecture, will also be selected. We will also recruit “Childcare Coordinators,” who will provide childcare and parenting information to young moms and double-income couples and offer services in connection with local daycare centers.
This year, through the efforts of the “Safe Walk Scouts,” sidewalk construction will be carried out more rationally and safely. About 200 Safe Walk Scouts will inspect and monitor sidewalk construction projects and conduct simple repair work, thereby preventing unnecessary construction work.
As many public service positions are filled by the elderly and unskilled, low-income citizens, much of the work is menial and temporary. In order to overcome these limitations, a system that satisfies workers, citizens, and work performance is needed. By offering regular vocational training sessions and support for participants, public service jobs will serve as a stepping-stone toward the creation of more jobs in the private sector. Positions that consistently create public benefit will be made into regular positions, facilitating the initiative to create more new jobs.
Another focus of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s job creation program is private sector employment. To ensure that job-seekers are able to find good workplaces, barriers to employment will be lowered. Based on precise forecasts of demand, jobs offering opportunities for advancement will be analyzed, and practical, customized vocational training sessions will generate more jobs and venture start-ups.
With the emergence of the digital age, private sector jobs are now changing. Labor-intensive jobs in the traditional primary and secondary labor markets are gradually vanishing, and creative knowledge jobs are becoming more promising and are expected to be in high demand for the next 30 years or more. The Seoul Metropolitan Government, with 26 employment models that improve access to promising jobs, will help 11,000 citizens land more stable jobs.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will lower the entry barrier for youth to the next-generation of jobs, such as experts in the MICE industry and highly-skilled shoe designers, and will also suggest jobs that may be suited for young women, including craft designer, tourist guide/translator undertaken by immigrants only, and universal designer. Furthermore, the elderly will be given opportunities to open guesthouses for foreign tourists or serve as a senior social contribution leader. Particularly, low-income citizens will be offered life-time jobs, such as mobile application developer or pet hair stylist.
For example, youngsters who dream of becoming a world-renowned shoe designer like Jimmy Choo will receive training in shoe design and manufacturing, and will be given opportunities to participate in an audition-type contest. The contest winners will be granted opportunities to work at shoe companies, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide support for up to three years while they work in these positions, as well as a one-on-one apprenticeship with a master craftsman of handmade shoes. If any young people show a willingness to start a business, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide investment support, and entrepreneurs with more than five years of experience will be accredited by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and appointed to help guide these young entrepreneurs. Furthermore, we will support the launch of an independent brand and participation in overseas exhibitions.
To this end, vocational training should follow the changes in social trends. Studio schools and small-scale, intensive training programs should be established. Also, training that is customized to particular companies should be conducted to nurture skilled employee who can start working immediately.
With the expansion of support for start-up ventures, many firms with high potential will be encouraged to redouble their efforts. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will increase the scale and intensity of its start-up incubation program by selecting 2,770 teams, which is 1.7 times more than last year. In particular, both the infant stage and stabilizing stage (three years after establishment) will be supported through the provision of training and consultations, so that those who fail at their business can try again.
It is essential that we change the concept of a job. Before becoming the mayor, I suggested some new types of jobs in my book titled, “Thousands of Jobs That Could Change the World”. With a new perspective on employment, we will be free to explore the creation of 4,460 new jobs that serve to increase social value. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will create sustainable jobs that foster social value while encouraging job-seekers, who usually prefer the public sector and conglomerates, to take such jobs.
More valuable and sustainable jobs will be created by establishing a network of cooperatives, supporting customized programs for social enterprises, and fostering community enterprises.
In addition to offering public service jobs and financial support for employment in the private sector, public construction projects amounting to KRW 5.6 trillion, mass purchasing estimated at around KRW 3.6 trillion, and a welfare budget of KRW 6 trillion will be executed.
When establishing a business plan, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will analyze the scope and details of related job creation and make it mandatory to conduct an employment assessment. When signing a contract with private companies, those with good job creation performance will receive preferential treatment. As for mass-purchasing, products produced by social enterprises will be given priority to support the creation of more jobs through such enterprises.
In addition, higher quality jobs will be created by improving workplaces and working conditions. By converting irregular jobs to regular jobs and improving welfare for the low-income class, a protective labor control system will be established, and the rights of poorly-treated workers will be protected. Furthermore, a declaration of labor rights and a labor rights protection law will be enacted in May and July, respectively.
I know how hard it is to create jobs, but I will do my best. I will develop job policies that relieve the suffering and anxiety of Seoul citizens.
Beginning with today’s press briefing, Seoul’s job creation measures will continue to move forward. As of today, job creation is the top priority of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s policy development.
I will now give you a glimpse of this year’s job creation policies. By investing a budget of KRW 423.1 billion in 2013, a total of 209,080 jobs will be created.
First, 93,928 public service jobs will be created for the low-income class, while the New Deal Opportunity Program, employment in the public service sector, and welfare culture services are expected to drive job growth.
Second, 115,152 jobs will be created by supporting employment in the private sector and start-up businesses. The employment process of the private sector, employment in the social economy, vocational training, and support for start-up ventures will all help lower the entry barrier to employment in the private sector.
Last but not least, in addition to direct financial support, the foundation of job creation will be strengthened through employment-promoting mass purchasing, employment assessments, public-private partnerships regarding job creation, creation of new types of jobs, and the fostering of better workplaces.