Forum hears young workers in 'yo-yo state'

Forum hears young workers in 'yo-yo state'
Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang holds up the Open Studio live stream in Taipei, yesterday.

Taiwan's young adults are caught in the so-called "yo-yo state" - a new, unusual and unproductive employment trajectory, said Lee Chien-hung at the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Open Studio seminar yesterday.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang yesterday launched Open Studio, a quartet of forums on youth affairs, economic development, government reform and mainland China. The first forum comprised talks focusing on youth issues.

"In generations past, Taiwanese stayed in the same job until they died, but today's young person is forced out of the job market again and again," said Lee, an associate professor of labour relations at Chinese Culture University.

According to Lee, the yo-yoing generation is facing a sterile job market of dim prospects and "high risk," as defined by taxing conditions and unlivable wages. After a period of effort, the worker exits the job market, then re-enters and exits again.

"Every year the Council of Labor Affairs tells us that there's no problem with the job market because the unemployed tend to leave on their own volition," said Lee.

The government then chides youth for their "weak abilities and low willingness to work," said Lee.

"But dim prospects and high-risk are obstacles that young people cannot overcome on their own. They're environmental problems. Society and the government all share the responsibility."

Lee added that newly coined terms used to disparage Taiwan's unemployed young adults, such as the "Clan of Daddy Dependents" and the "Clan of the Elderly-Devouring Youth", are part of a problematic government and a societal trend of shifting blame onto youth.

One way for the government to improve the job market is to allocate public resources with an eye toward balance among all cities and counties, said Hung Ching-shu, director of the Taiwan Labor Front's Research Center for the Working Poor.

Another is to shift resources like subsidies and tax breaks from large corporations to Taiwan's small and medium-sized enterprises, which provide nearly 78 per cent of domestic employment, according to Hung.

Open Studio is broadcast live online every Tuesday from the DPP central headquarters.

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