32 pct of Manufacturing Workers Over 50 Years Old: Report | Be Korea-savvy

32 pct of Manufacturing Workers Over 50 Years Old: Report

(image: Korea Bizwire)

(image: Korea Bizwire)

SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Korea Bizwire)Three in 10 workers in the manufacturing sector are over 50 years of age, with a rapidly increasing proportion of senior workers, a report said Wednesday.

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) reported that the proportion of senior workers over 50 years of age jumped from 11 percent in 2001 to 31.9 percent in 2021.

The proportion of those in their 50s jumped from 9 percent to 23.9 percent. The share of those in their 60s or higher rose from 2 percent to 8 percent.

The proportion of younger workers between 15 and 29 years of age dropped from 29.7 percent in 2001 to 14.8 percent in 2021. Those in their 30s dropped from 33.9 percent to 26.4 percent.

Even in comparison with the U.S. and Japan, workers in the South Korean manufacturing sector is aging rapidly.

The average age of workers in South Korea’s manufacturing sector stood at 39.2 years in 2011. By 2021, the average age had increased to 43 years.

In contrast, the average age of workers in the Japanese manufacturing sector has only increased slightly, from 41.6 years in 2011 to 43.1 years in 2021. The U.S. has more or less stayed constant, going from 44.1 years in 2011 to 44.2 years in 2021.

The FKI is concerned that rising labor costs due to the aging problem are accelerating faster than the rise of labor productivity.

Overall labor costs in the manufacturing industry jumped by 23.5 percent from 4.9 million won (US$3,455) in 2011 to 6 million won in 2020. Labor productivity, however, jumped by a mere 16.2 percent, going from a score of 99.5 to 115.6.

M. H. Lee (mhlee@koreabizwire.com)

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