SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Korea Bizwire) – A recent study from Statistics Korea revealed that the number of temporary employees aged 60 and above has more than doubled over the past decade, calling for government measures to provide aged workers with stable jobs to prevent elderly poverty.
According to the study, there were 1,468,000 employees aged 60 and higher in temporary positions as of August, accounting for 22.8 percent of all temporary employees (6,444,000) in the country. This was an increase from 611,000 in August 2006, the study noted.
Quickly following behind were those in their 50s, with 1,382,000 (21.5 percent) in temporary positions, a 1.6 times increase over the same period.
In contrast, the number of temporary positions declined in the past 10 years for those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Employment declined the most for 30-somethings, from 1,385,000 to 994,000, while those in their 20s and 30s saw drops from 1,141,000 to 1,129,000 and 1,325,000 to 1,277,000, respectively.
In total, the number of temporary positions increased by roughly 1 million (from 5,457,000 to 6,444,000).
Although the data does indicate that more jobs were provided to older workers – bringing up the accession rate for those in their 60s from 38.4 percent to 41.1 percent and for those in their 50s, from 68.5 percent to 74.7 percent – officials claim that it is imperative for a balance to be struck between temporary jobs and stable, permanent positions given Korea’s quickly-aging society.
Korea suffers from the highest elderly poverty rate among OECD member nations (2015), a phenomenon that is closely related to the majority of aged workers being offered temporary, menial labor positions.
A study last year from the Seoul Institute even showed that 85.4 percent of Seoulites aged 65 and above were engaged in unskilled employment, with jobs such as security guards, cleaning, and housekeeping among the most common.
“The increasing number of older temporary employees is the result of a growing elderly population, but there are also systematic issues such as a low retirement age and government policies leading to the phenomenon,” said Hanyang University professor Kim Kwang-seok. “We can’t expect to tackle the issue of elderly poverty without providing jobs that guarantee both quality and quantity.”
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)