The number of unemployed college graduates jumped to an all-time high last year despite faster-than-expected economic recovery, the nation's statistics agency said Tuesday.
According to data offered by Statistics Korea, the number of jobless people with college degrees totaled 346,000 last year, the highest ever since the agency compiled related figures in 2000.
The jobless people in the category spiked especially after the financial crisis in 2009 when the figure surpassed the 300,000 mark for the first time, the data showed.
Male jobless people with college degrees came to 204,000 last year, marking the highest since 2000, while the number of female counterparts also hit a record high of 142,000, the data showed.
The increase is attributed in part to still-frozen labor market conditions despite the economic recovery. A wide gap between employers' demand and job seekers' expectations also played a role, experts say.
"College graduates tend to land a job in larger companies rather than smaller ones, while the number of jobs available for them is limited," a government official said. "Last year's economic recovery doesn't seem to be fast enough to offer jobs that could resolve such an expectation gap between employers and job seekers."