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Average Worker Will Be 40 in 2010

Posted December. 14, 2005 06:15,   


It was predicted that the average age of Korean workers will reach 40 years old in 2010.

The Korean Employers Federation (KEF) released data, titled “The Present Situation of Aging Workers in Corporations and Policy Task,” yesterday which stated that the average age of Korean workers was 37.5 last year. The KEF forecasts that the figure will quickly rise to 40.2 in 2010 and 43.9 in 2020.

Also, it said Korean workers are aging more rapidly than their Japanese counterparts whose average age has already exceeded 40.

While the average age of Korean workers went up by 8.3 years to 37.1 years old in 2003 from 28.8 years old in 1980, that of Japanese workers increased by 3.5 years to 40.3 years old in 2003 from 36.8 years old in 1980.

Among all age groups, workers in their 20s or younger had the largest proportion of workers at 60.6 percent in 1980. However, the figure dropped to 27.5 percent last year, while the proportion of workers in their 40s or older jumped from 15.8 percent in 1980 to 39.5 percent in 2004.

The phenomenon of aging is more prominent in blue collar workers.

The average age of blue collar workers was 27.1 years old in 1980, lower than that of office workers (28.8) and sales and service workers (35.7). But the figure was 41.0 in 2004, higher than office workers (32.8) and sales and service workers (36.1).

The KEF cited as reasons of aging workers the lack of flexibility in the labor market, favoring experienced workers in employment, delayed entry of workers in the labor market because of higher educational background, and increased job security in large conglomerates because of labor unions.

It argued, “As aging workers increase the burdens on companies and reduces productivity, merit-based salary system, such as a salary peak system, should be introduced.”

Sung-Won Joo swon@donga.com