Working Moms at Record High

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    November 29, 2023 08:38

    The employment rate of Korean mothers has risen to a fresh record while the number of women who quit work after giving birth has fallen to an all-time low.
    According to Statistics Korea, 5.11 million out of 7.94 million married women were employed as of the first half of this year, up by 31,000 on-year.
    That brought their employment rate to 64.3 percent, up from 62.6 percent a year ago and not dramatically lower than the overall employment rate of 69.7 percent. But men's employment rate stood at 77.4 percent.
    Employment among married women with children reached a record 60 percent. Those on long-term contracts rose by 27,000 from a year ago and those on temporary contracts dwindled by 45,000, suggesting an improvement in the quality of jobs.
    But a closer look suggests that many married women with young or multiple children still drop out of workforce. Among women with children under six the employment rate stood at 52.3 percent, compared to 62.6 percent among women with children aged seven to 12 and 68.3 percent for those with kids aged 13 to 17.
    And while employment among married women with one child was 61.2 percent, that fell to 59.3 percent for women with two kids and to 56.6 percent for mothers of three or more.
    Some 1.35 million women quit their jobs when they had a child, down 48,000 from a year ago and the smallest number on record. The proportion of married women who quit their jobs also stood at a record-low 17 percent, down 0.2 percentage point.
    However, the decrease does not mean working moms now shoulder a lighter burden. In fact, 42 percent of women who quit their jobs cited childcare as the main reason, 26.2 percent marriage and 23 percent pregnancy or childbirth. In contrast, only 4.4 percent of working moms quit because of their children's education and 4.3 percent to care for other family members.
    The government promised to reflect the statistics in relevant policies.  
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