Workers over 60 years of age outnumbered those in their 20s in the second quarter for the first time since statistics started in 1963.
The number of the older employees stood at 3.64 million, 29,000 more than those in their 20s, Statistics Korea said Wednesday.
In the first quarter, workers in their 50s outnumbered those in their 30s by 12,000 for the first time. In the second quarter, the difference increased to 157,000, with those in their 50s numbering 5.87 million and those in their 30s 5.72 million.
The proportion of older workers has grown chiefly because of the declining birthrate. Other reasons are the worsening youth unemployment and desperate efforts to find jobs by those in their 50s and 60s who have not enough money put aside for their retirement.
Lee Jun-hyup of the Hyundai Research Institute said, "Those in their 50s and 60s have no choice to do any job they can find to support their children and prepare for their twilight years."
Those in their 50s or older accounted for 92 percent of all 398,000 newly employed people in June.
The government boasts that employment figures have improved, but employment of older people in non-regular jobs accounts for the largest percentage of the increase.
The employment rate of people in their 20s dropped from 58.2 percent in 2009 to 57.3 percent in the second quarter of this year. In contrast, that of those in their 50s shot up from 70.3 percent to 74.9 percent and of the over-60s from 36.7 percent to 41 percent.