Nearly Half of Young Workers Have Insecure Jobs

  • By Kim Choong-ryung

    December 15, 2021 08:45

    Nearly half of Korea's young workers have insecure jobs as the quality of the scarce jobs that are available for them deteriorated in the coronavirus pandemic.

    Statistics Korea on Monday said that 47.1 percent of young workers held only temporary jobs as of May this year, up from 41.9 percent in 2019.

    Employment among people between 35 and 64 edged down 0.98 percentage point since the coronavirus pandemic began in March of 2020 but 1.2 percentage points for people aged 15 to 34. That means fresh university graduates bore the brunt of the unemployment shock.

    Employment among graduates of vocational colleges and universities plummeted 12.1 percentage points in August last year, and 14.9 percentage points among women with high school diplomas or less.

    Lockdown turned many young people into lonely couch potatoes. Marriages declined 10.7 percent and childbirths 10 percent last year. The number of marriages in May, which is peak wedding season, plummeted 27 percent compared to the same month in the previous three years.

    Some 2.2 percent of the public lost contact with others in lockdown, compared to just 1.7 percent before the outbreak. Instead they watched films or TV shows online, with YouTube and streaming service viewership rising from 42.7 percent in 2018 to 66.3 percent last year.

    More time spent online meant immersion in the mob culture of the Internet, and many people were more afraid of being criticized if they inadvertently spread the virus.

    According to a study conducted in August by Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Health, 56.5 percent of the public said they fear becoming the target of criticism after getting infected. Yoo Myung-soon at SNU said, "People appear to be more worried about the consequences of infection rather than the infection itself." 

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