Go to contents

[Editorial] Rising Employment of 50-something Women

Posted January. 16, 2009 07:58,   


The number of jobs fell 12,000 to 23,245,000 last month year-on-year, the first drop since October 2003. The number of those who applied for unemployment benefits rose 84 percent year-on-year to 93,060. This seems to herald the start of massive unemployment in Korea, though the rest of the world is also going through a similar phenomenon due to the global economic slowdown. All economic players, however, must do their best to minimize the shock. The government must spend to raise employment as early as possible, and companies must refrain from conducting layoffs. Employees must accept pay cuts to overcome this crisis. The unemployed also need to lower their standards for jobs.

Despite this, employment of 50-something people has risen 4.5 percent, the highest among all age groups in Korea, and that of women in their 50s has increased seven percent or 112,000. While employment among people in their 20s with higher qualifications has dropped significantly, that of women in their 50s has risen not just because of cheap labor costs but also because of their strong responsibility to their family and their willingness to do tough work.

Most jobs given to 50-something women are not high-paying regular work. They work as nannies doing laundry, washing dishes and cleaning or work as cashiers, kitchen assistants or waitresses. The introduction of care service for the elderly last year created many caregiver jobs. Caring requires knowledge of housework and a mindset of caring for others.

This does not mean that young college graduates must do such work. Employers would not like them, and even if they do, it would be a waste of human resources. If hundreds of thousands of college graduates produced each year seek only stable jobs in the government or state-run organizations or large companies with more favorable working conditions, the unemployment problem will not go away soon.

Structurally, it is difficult to create decent jobs. To get through this crisis, 20-somethings must arm themselves with the spirit of sacrifice and hunger prevalent in their mothers` generation.