SEOUL, June 2 (Korea Bizwire) — In the last three years, career interruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic have become a serious problem among South Korean women, with a higher percentage of them experiencing career interruptions compared to men, and it takes longer for them to return to the job market.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family conducted a survey of 8,521 women between the ages of 25 and 54, 42.6 percent of whom said they had experienced a career interruption at least once.
This was 7.6 percentage points higher than what was reported following a similar survey in 2019.
Across all generations, married women with children were more likely to see their careers cut off than married women without children.
Once they are cut off from their careers, it now takes women 8.9 years to return to the job market, up by almost a year since three years ago.
Among all women who quit their jobs between March 2020 and October 2022, 65.6 percent were in their 30s.
At the time of quitting their jobs, 53.9 percent of women worked in the service sector with frequent contact with their clients.
Regarding their reasons for quitting, 49.8 percent said there was no one else to take care of their children, as working from home wasn’t an option for many.
There was no one else available to supervise their children, who were taking classes online at home.
The proportion of women working for small businesses with one to four employees was 20.9 percent before their careers were severed. For those who returned to work, the proportion jumped to 45.7 percent.
The first jobs that women would get after leaving their careers would focus on sales and services, temporary and self-employed, and part-time positions, rather than office work, professional, and full-time jobs.
Average working hours also dropped by 4.3 hours per week.
The monthly salary at their first job after returning to work (2,143,000 won, US$1,640) was no more than 84.5 percent of what they earned prior to their career interruption.
These women also earned only 84.2 percent of what other women without career interruptions made.
As for the reasons for not being able to return to work following maternal leave, 39.9 percent blamed the difficulties of dealing with childcare and work simultaneously, while 29.7 percent cited a lack of people to whom they could entrust childcare.
They also mentioned a lack of trustworthy childcare facilities.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)