SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Korea Bizwire) – More than 1 in 6 South Korean married women suffered a career break this year as they quit their jobs due to child rearing and getting married, data showed Tuesday.
The number of women aged 15-54 who have stopped working after marriage reached 1.45 million in April, down 3.8 percent, or 57,000, from the previous year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
Such women accounted for 17.4 percent of the total 8.32 million married women, down from 17.6 percent a year earlier.
The 2021 tally was lower than an on-year decline of 193,000 the previous year. But the number of such women has been on a sustained decline in line with a fall in marriage, according to the statistics agency.
South Korea has been struggling with a chronic decline in childbirths as many young people are opting to distance themselves from life’s three major milestones — dating, marriage and having children — because they cannot find decent jobs amid a prolonged economic slowdown and skyrocketing housing prices.
Among the married women who quit their jobs, the largest proportion of 43.2 percent, or 626,000, said child rearing is the main reason behind their decision.
The data showed 27.4 percent said they stopped working due to getting married, followed by 22.1 percent with pregnancy and childbirths.
By age, those aged 30-39 topped the list with 45.2 percent, trailed by those aged 40-49 with 40 percent.
The number of working mothers with children aged under 18 came to 2.61 million in April, down 66,000 from the previous year, the data showed.
The 2021 tally was lower than a record on-year fall of 156,000 the previous year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The employment rate for married women reached 61.1 percent in April, up 1 percentage point from the previous year.
South Korea reported job growth for the eighth straight month in October in the latest sign that the country’s economic recovery has continued despite the fourth wave of the pandemic.