June 01, 2022 08:36
Many men over 60 feel duty-bound to keep working after retirement, regardless of income or social class.
According to Statistics Korea, a whopping 77.4 percent of men aged 55-79 wanted to work in 2021, outnumbering the 59.6 percent of women in the age group.
And more than half or 56.5 percent of the elderly men who wanted to work were struggling to make ends meet.
"My children are too financially hard-pressed to share spare cash for us, and I need to feed my wife and myself," a 70-year-old man who ran a clothing factory until a few years ago. "I have to work as long as I'm healthy because I have no savings."
Bae Ki-geun (74), who owns a delivery business, said, "Most of my staff are elderly people who are working to make ends meet without depending on their children."
But there are limited jobs available to them. According to a 2020 report by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, 24 percent of the economically active male elderly population worked as security guards, janitors or cleaners.
Some 28.3 percent were delivery men or odd jobbers on construction sites and 8.9 percent did menial tasks in public places for minimum wage paid by local governments.
Most elderly men work in more lowly jobs than before retirement. "I had a white-collar job all my life, but that's long gone," said a 64-year-old apartment manager who used to be branch manager at a securities company. "I'm proud of my current job."
Lee Yun-kyung at the KIHASA said, "Even employees of conglomerates, whose retirement age is relatively low, are economically hard pressed for about 10 years until they get their pension."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com