Unemployment among young people is emerging as a major issue of concern in societies worldwide. In response, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has been seeking diverse ways of helping young people find suitable jobs. The Seoul Job Cafés are major venues that provide the information and services young jobseekers need, including special lectures, mentoring, ID photos for resumes, and free business suit rentals for job interviews. Hubs of job-related information and services, 24 Job Cafés have been established in major areas across the city where young people are most active and tend to gather, including Jongno and Sinchon.
|Seoul Job Café||Inside a Seoul Job Café|
The first-ever Seoul Job Café was established at Media Café Hu:, located near Exit 2 of Hongik University Station. The café provides diverse amenities and equipment to facilitate young people’s preparations and job searches, including mentoring/counseling spaces, study rooms, seminar rooms, and digital information kiosks. There is even a telephone hotline that young people can use to speak directly to a representative at the SMG and ask any questions they may have about jobs or the city’s job support policy.
Young jobseekers have been struggling to find places where they feel welcome and relaxed. Previously, most sources of job-related information were found only online. The Seoul Job Cafés, however, form a unique real-world system of job information and support services, enabling visitors to explore diverse career paths, giving them centralized access to recruitment information provided by the five major online headhunting agencies and public employers, allowing them to easily look up information on jobs and companies of interest, and helping them update their resumes.
Young jobseekers can also take some time to relax in these cafés by reading books or discussing their career prospects with counselors and mentors. The Seoul Job Cafés serve as welcoming and relaxing places for today’s struggling youths.
Since opening the first Job Café near Hongik University Station in May 2016, Seoul has opened more Job Cafés in various locations, including Sangmyung University, Zero-Gravity Zone G-Valley, Dongbu Women Development Center, Pagoda Language School in Jongno Tower, and Jongno The Big Study. The city opened Job Cafés at the Pagoda Language School and The Big Study, both located in Jongno, as those spaces are frequented by young people attending language classes and participating in study groups, so as to enhance the accessibility and effectiveness of support services for jobseekers. There are currently 18 Seoul Job Cafés in operation today, 12 of which have been established in highly accessible and popular areas, such as Jongno, Sinchon, and near universities.
|First Seoul Job Cafés||New Seoul Job Cafés|
The Job Cafés offer different support programs for jobseekers on different days of the week. On Mondays, they host counseling sessions to discuss and advise jobseekers on their career options and paths. Tuesdays are reserved for the Job Seeking Clinic, through which experts help jobseekers improve their resumes and prepare for key tasks, including job interviews. Career and job counseling sessions are held on Wednesdays, while the CV Clinic is held on Fridays, where jobseekers receive one-on-one advice and guidance. On Thursdays, multiple programs are offered in sequence, including special lectures and mock job interviews. Jobseekers are also encouraged to take personality and aptitude tests and attend lectures on current recruitment and employment trends. On Saturdays, the Career Mentoring program is held, connecting jobseekers with specialists and human resource managers in their respective fields or companies of interest so that they may receive practical and valuable advice. Seoul plans to increase the number of Job Cafés to 300 by 2020.
|Functions of Seoul Job Cafés||Weekly schedule|
The Seoul Job Cafés are also open to young jobseekers who are not registered with any specific programs offered by the cafés. As these cafés also seek to provide additional spaces for group learning and discussions, jobseekers can rent a study room for up to three hours a day free of charge by booking the room in advance on Space Cloud (https://spacecloud.kr).
The Seoul Job Café Kiosk, installed in each café, provides additional information on the recruitment policies of companies, job preparation strategies, available online mentors, and tips for writing good resumes and personal statements. These kiosks provide real-time updates on the useful information provided by Korea’s major online headhunting agencies and public job-seeking support organizations.
|Study room at The Big Study, Jongno||First Seoul Job Café|
The SMG’s policy efforts to address and mitigate the youth unemployment problem also include the New Deal Job Placement Program for Youth, which helps young people gain relevant career and job experiences; a program matching young jobseekers with small and prospective businesses; various services offering urgently needed assistance for young jobseekers, such as free business suit rentals for job interviews; education and training programs designed to enhance job-related skills and competencies; and support services for young entrepreneurs.
Detailed information on each of these services is available on the city government’s website. Jobseekers wishing to visit and use the Seoul Job Cafés may submit applications via Seoul’s support portal or blog for jobseekers.
|Unemployment rate among young people||Seoul Master Plan for Youth Employment|
All these efforts make up the SMG’s Great Job March Campaign, which is designed to enable young people to dream of the future and realize their career aspirations. The 2016 Seoul Master Plan for Youth Employment, which underpins this campaign, aims to establish up to 300 Seoul Job Cafés, provide 10,000 new jobs for young people at small and prospective local businesses, create more jobs by expanding public welfare services, make more information available on the Internet and via mobile platforms, expand the reach of the Center for the Protection of Young Part-Time Workers’ Rights, and maintain the Great Job March Campaign all year round.