November 01, 2023 08:24
A growing number of senior citizens in Korea are seeking employment as the population ages rapidly, but many of them are left out because they have trouble navigating the online world.
That often means they end up finding only low-paying temporary jobs with the government like raking leaves or give up looking for work.
One 67-year-old in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, recently gave up using his smartphone to find work. He found no enticing job postings at a community center near his home and turned to an online job portal a friend showed him. But he said he encountered a digital maze, first requiring him to authenticate his identity to gain membership, which he had never done before.
"In the past, I applied for jobs by written application, but I am at a loss nowadays, since everything is done online," he said.
Another 67-year-old in Daegu said, "I used to find jobs through regional newspapers, flyers and word of mouth, but these days, you can't even find a job if you don't know how to use a smartphone app or the internet."
The Chosun Ilbo polled 707 senior citizens about their biggest obstacles searching for jobs and found that 68.1 percent did not know where to find information. Some 33.1 percent said they only found jobs through word of mouth, and just 28 percent found them on the Internet.
Lee Ho-seung, head of the Korean Senior Workers Union, said, "Those who say navigating a job search app is difficult are actually better off than many other senior citizens who don't even know that they exist."
One 70-year-old in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, said, "With my daughter's help, I signed up for an job search website early this year and was surprised to see information on hourly wages and benefits. I was able to find the best job I could without having to ask my friends for information."
As of May this year, the elderly population stood at 15.48 million, and 68.5 percent of them want to keep working, but only 19.8 percent had actually worked during the past year.
Experts say digital education is needed to help senior citizens find work online. Hur Jun-soo at Soongsil University said, "We're used to seeing senior citizens subjects of care, but we need to treat them as a potential workforce and provide channels for them to easily find suitable jobs."
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