Small Businesses Now Can't Find Part-Time Workers

  • By Park Jung-hoon

    April 18, 2022 08:37

    Restaurants, coffee shops and other small businesses are having trouble finding part-time workers as Korea returns to normal and the streets and alleys fill up again.

    The reason is that many menial and part-time workers were mopped up by delivery apps and the gig economy as they lost their jobs in small shops, and now they have gotten used to the pace of life.

    One 26-year-old university student found a one-day gig on his smartphone app at a cold noodle restaurant washing dishes. He worked eight hours and earned W80,000 cash (US$1=W1,230). Since he prefers flexibility and working only two or three days at a time waiting tables, he is turning his back on steady positions. "I get paid quickly and don't have to work during test season," he said.

    That means more and more employers have resorted to offering short-term gigs. According to job search portal Alba, gigs lasting less than three months accounted for just 11.5 percent of total part-time work on the website in 2019 but rose to 16 percent last year. Also, the proportion of gigs lasting between three to six months declined from 27 percent to 22.3 percent over the same period.

    Another reason behind the shortage is the that many migrant workers left at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

    One 55-year-old owner of a barbecued beef restaurant in Seoul said, "I will need more part-time staff once lockdown ends, but I can't find foreign workers. People just don't want to do this type of work anymore." 

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