Number of Temporary Workers Soars

  • By Choi Kyu-min

    October 30, 2019 13:14

    The number of temporary workers has soared since President Moon Jae-in took office in 2017 with a promise to reduce it to zero.

    Statistics Korea on Tuesday said that the number of temporary workers surged by 867,000 this year to an alarming 7.48 million. It rose by 360,000 in 2017 and 2018. That means temporary workers now account for 36.4 percent of the total workforce, the highest in 15 years.

    Students look at job postings at a job fair at COEX in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

    Steady full-time jobs dwindled apace to 13.08 million, falling by 353,000 compared to a year ago.

    The proliferation of temporary workers was due to private-sector jobs becoming scarce because of the slow economy as well as the government creating a raft of menial temporary positions, mostly for the elderly.

    The biggest increase in temporary work was seen among people in their 60s and 20s, growing by 289,000 and 238,000.

    But the government blamed a new statistical method for the surge.

    Kang Shin-wook at Statistics Korea said, "About 350,000 to 500,000 who used to be classified as regular workers are now classified as temporary workers because we now take into account how long they expect to be employed."

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