January 10, 2023 08:36
Older people are increasingly replacing young part-time workers in convenience stores, pubs and coffee shops.
Part-time work used to be dominated by people between their teens and 30s, but now these menial jobs attract more and more older people who need to earn extra income.
According to job portal Albamon on Sunday, 3.39 million part-time job ads for senior citizens were posted on the website in the first eight months of last year, up 64.8 percent from a year ago and a whopping 184.6 percent from two years ago.
Job applicants are getting older apace. Those in their 50s increased 62.5 percent from a year ago and those in their 60s by 82.7 percent. That contrasts with an overall rise of 26.6 percent across all age groups.
The main reasons are an increasing aversion to part-time work among young people and growing numbers of retirees who need extra income. Young people increasingly choose freelance work through apps such as food delivery, which offer them flexible hours, so restaurants and coffee shops have to fill their shifts with older people.
One pub owner said, "This is the first time I hired a part-time worker over 50. It's just too hard to find young ones, so I placed an ad with no age requirement and even then I barely managed to hire someone."
"Many young people quit after one to three months and most of them aren't interested in part-time work anyway," he added.
Lee Chang-ho of an association of pub and restaurant owners said, "For every five job ads we put up, four of the applicants are seniors." Statistics back him up. According to Statistics Korea, the number of people working in the service sector edged up 3.1 percent from the second half of 2019 until the second half of 2022. But while the number of young workers declined from 638,000 to 610,000 over that period, that of over-50s increased from 1.39 million to 1.53 million.
But employers say they are noticing the advantages of hiring elderly workers, chiefly because they are more dependable. One owner of a convenience store in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, recently hired a 67-year-old man for 45 hours a week on the night shift. "Unlike young people, who quit after working only a short time until they find full-time work, elderly people tend to be more responsible and stay longer. If I can I'll hire more elderly staff from now on."
Job search portals are moving quickly to cater to elderly jobseekers. Ads for part-time jobs increasingly come without age limits, while a wider range of work opportunities are becoming available.
One staffer at a job portal said, "Baby boomers are usually well educated, which makes them able to handle a wider variety of work than the previous generation, while positions requiring communication with customers such as bank receptionists or clerical jobs are becoming more available for elderly jobseekers."
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