SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – The minimum wage hike which will enter effect next year has been labeled the hottest issue of this year in the retail industry, a survey has found.
According to the results of a survey conducted by Retail Magazine, which is run by the Korea Chainstores Association, the 16.4 percent minimum wage hike that will propel the country’s hourly wage to 7,530 won from next year was the hottest issue in the retail industry in 2017.
Ranking second according to the survey, which was conducted with the participation of 205 employees in the retail industry, was China’s THAAD retaliation, referring to the Chinese government’s economic retaliatory actions against South Korean companies over South Korea’s deployment of U.S. missile defense systems.
The ranking reflects concerns surrounding the possible ramifications of a higher minimum wage, particularly in the retail and manufacturing industries, including fewer job opportunities and even job cuts as a result of an increased wage burden on small business owners.
Though the government proposed the minimum wage hike to close the wage gap and improve financial security, the increased personnel expenses are expected to draw some backlash from the retail industry, with speculation growing that consumer prices will rise as a result.
With the retail industry increasingly adopting autonomous technology in response to the increased minimum wage, the number of new jobs is expected to shrink, and some employees now face higher risks of being downsized.
Other issues that ranked in the top 10 includes the government’s increased efforts to introduce retail regulations, the bird flu outbreaks and soaring egg prices, as well as Naver and Kakao’s expansion into the online commerce industry.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)