SEOUL - Having completed a bachelor's degree in business administration and psychology at a prestigious university and several internships in Korea and overseas, Ahn Ye-chan believed his future should be secure.
But the 27-year-old graduate's confidence is quickly fading in the face of a tight job market, which has forced him to lower his expectations.
At a recent job fair, he could not find one position that could fulfil his dream of working in international business.
"There are few entry-level positions available for foreign companies here. Now I am broadening my options and also trying to apply to some major domestic companies," he told The Korea Herald.
Ahn is the victim of a protracted slowdown, an industrial structure in which growth yields fewer jobs than before, and a disproportionally large number of university graduates in comparison to the new jobs available.
Amid a sluggish economy and lingering uncertainties, major companies are cutting down on spending and recruitment of new entry-level employees.
A survey of 916 companies by online job search site Incruit found that the entry-level openings at big firms are down 17.5 per cent on-year.
A recent government report estimated that the nation's 30 largest public companies would hire about 1,200 new employees later this year, down 26 per cent from 1,641 a year ago.