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Companies Remain Not So Family Friendly: Study

Posted April. 10, 2010 06:06,   


A woman working for a construction company decided against having a second child after a comment made by one of her bosses.

The 31-year-old once joked “I feel stuffy in my stomach; I wonder if I’m pregnant with a second child,” to which a senior manager responded, “Then, you might have to quit.” The employee said, “One of my coworkers was assigned an unwanted post after taking maternity leave,” adding, “I’m near a point in my career for a promotion, and I’ve decided to postpone my pregnancy.”

Likewise, most public agencies and private companies in Korea have a corporate culture in which female staff find it hard to simultaneously continue their careers and childrearing, a survey found.

A month-long study of 1,202 public agencies and private companies found that 1,053 of them (87.6 percent) received grades of four (basic) and five (below basic) in the family friendliness index. The survey was conducted by the Korea Management Association Consulting commissioned by the Gender Equality and Family Ministry in November last year.

Developed by the ministry in 2006, the index assigns up to a maximum score of 100 points by analyzing five items: flexible work hours; creation of a family-friendly corporate culture; support for childbirth, childrearing and educational assistance; assistance for relatives being directly supported; and support for workers.

The index at all of the surveyed public agencies and private companies was an average 49.2 points. Metropolitan and provincial governments scored the highest with 85.9 points, followed by central government agencies with 75.5 points, basic autonomous agencies with 67.8 points, and state-run companies with 58.3 points.

The figure was lower at listed companies with 45.2 points. No listed company recorded a “very good” grade, the highest for the family friendliness index.

A close correlation was found between the family friendliness index and the managerial performance of the companies. The family friendliness index was as much as 22.3 points higher among the top 20 percent of companies in sales than among the bottom 20 percent.