February 10, 2015 09:54
Only 53.1 percent of North Korean defectors were employed in 2014, 7.7 percent less than the overall employment rate of 60.8 percent in South Korea.
A survey of defectors by the Korea Hana Foundation, which helps defectors adjust to life in the South, on Monday shows that there has been some improvement in the economic conditions of defectors, but they still lag behind in terms of employment.
When they do have jobs they rarely pay much. Some 19.8 percent of defectors are day workers, more than three times the rate of the population as a whole (6.1 percent), and just 6.1 percent are self-employed, about three times less than the overall rate of 16.2 percent.
Wage earners among defectors work 47 hours per week, 2.9 hours more than the average worker's 44.1 hours. And they earn W1.47 million per month, about W760,000 less than the average W2.23 million (US$1=W1,100).
The average employment period for a defector is only 19 months, compared to 67 months in the population at large.
Still, two-thirds or 67.6 percent of the respondents said they are satisfied with their life here. Of these, 47.4 percent said because they can do what they want here, and 42.3 percent said they are better off than the North.
But 25.3 percent said they have been discriminated against or ignored because they come from the North. Some 58.4 percent of young defectors said they are reluctant to admit they come from North Korea, up four percentage points from 2012.
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