Temporary Workforce Swells as Regular Jobs Dry up

  • By Choi Kyu-min

    October 31, 2018 12:27

    The number of permanent jobs available in Korea has declined sharply this year, resulting in the largest number of temporary workers in six years. The latest data directly counter the government's claim that the job market is improving.

    Statistics Korea said on Tuesday that the number of temporary workers stood at 6.61 million in August, up by 36,000 from a year earlier, while permanent employees grew by just 3,000 to 13.4 million over the same period.

    Temporary workers accounted for 33 percent of the total workforce, the highest since August 2012 when the figure was 33.2 percent. The proportion of temps fell to 32.2 percent in 2014 but has since been on the rise. Since its inauguration in May 2017, the Moon Jae-in government has vowed to turn temporary jobs into regular ones, but it seems to be having little success.

    The gap in benefits for temporary and permanent workers has also widened. Permanent workers' average wage rose 5.5 percent over the past three months on-year to W3 million, while temporary workers saw a mere 4.8 percent increase to W1.57 million, making 54.6 percent of what permanent staff earn, down from 55 percent last year.

    The difference in the two groups' average duration of employment also grew by a month to five years and two months.  

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