The number of the self-employed has plummeted to a record low amid the prolonged recession. Statistics Korea on Wednesday said the figure fell from January to September.
Last month, the self-employed accounted for 22.47 percent of all workers, the lowest since statistics began in 1983.
The fall is attributed largely to the recession discouraging retired people from opening small shops or B&Bs. In recent years, baby boomers born between 1955 and 1963 led an increase in the number of start-ups.
Another factor is a massive rise in the number of part-time jobs this year. Unsuccessful start-up owners or those who gave up on opening their own small business were drawn to low-paying temporary jobs.
This analysis is backed by the fact that although on-year job growth stood at over 400,000 in September for the second month running, more than 90 percent of the newly employed were in their 50s or older. In the same two months, the number of start-ups dropped by 136,000 on-year.
In a survey of 815 adults this month by Hyundai Research Institute, 56 percent cited the recession as a factor preventing people from opening their own business.
Some 75 percent thought it would be extremely difficult for those who failed to get on their feet again, while 52 percent said they do not want their children to open their own business.