SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Government funding set aside for workers in their 40s, composing the main tier of employment in South Korea, turned out to be much smaller than the budget allocated to jobs for seniors, drawing criticism that the government continues to focus on quantity, rather than quality, of employment.
The 2020 Budget Plan announced by the Ministry of Economy and Finance last Thursday showed that the government earmarked 25.8 trillion won (US$21.3 billion) for job creation, up 4.5 trillion won from 2019.
A budget of 2.9 trillion won was set for jobs directly funded by the government, up 846 billion won from this year. The budget includes 1.2 trillion won for jobs for senior citizens.
The plan is to create 130,000 more jobs for seniors by injecting an additional 378 billion won, going from a total of 610,000 jobs this year to 740,000 jobs by 2020.
In contrast, funding set aside for those in their 40s turned out to be extremely small.
The government announced it would allocate a mere 3.1 billion won to middle-aged job seekers, and 3.6 billion won to promote new agricultural businesses, showing that the budget for citizens in their 40s will fall short of 7 billion won.
The government increased the budget for supporting social activities among middle-aged citizens from 28.1 billion won to 51.3 billion won for next year, but only citizens over fifty years of age are eligible.
The Moon Jae-in administration has proclaimed to become a ‘job-creating government’ since the beginning, allocating 19.2 trillion won to job creation in 2018 and 21.2 trillion won this year.
The government’s efforts have led to an increasing number of employees, with those over sixty years of age increasing by 377,000 from last year, thanks to public job positions funded by the government.
The number of employees in their 30s and 40s, however, has been on a constant plunge for 22 consecutive months since October 2017, down by 179,000 and 23,000, respectively.
Experts argue that a long-term employment strategy related to government-funded jobs for seniors is crucial, pointing out that increasing the number of jobs for seniors only to add on to the total number of employees won’t serve as a proper solution for a healthy and safe labor market.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)