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Elderly employment exceeded youth employment last year

Posted January. 29, 2018 08:32,   

Updated January. 29, 2018 09:05


The number of employees aged 60 and older exceeded for the first time last year the number of youth employees aged 15 to 29. This is the result of vicious circle where Korean society has not been effectively addressing the youth unemployment and the poverty of the elderly population while more and more youth find it hard to get a job and an increasing number of the elderly from low-income group enter the labor force.

The number of elderly workers amounted to 41.38 million, accounting for 15.6 percent whereas the number of younger workers came to 39.73 million, making up 15 percent in 2017, according to Statistics Korea on Sunday. This is the first time that the number and the rate of the elderly employment surpassed those of the younger generation since Korea started tallying related data in 1963. The number of employees aged 60 and older more than doubled in 2017 from 1.83 million in 1997 while the number of younger employees decreased more than 25 percent over the same past two decades. 

The country’s high youth jobless rate is, ironically, encouraging the elderly employment. President Moon Jae-in even lashed out publicly at the government’s measures “being not enough to address the issue of youth employment.” As a growing number of the elderly suffering poverty tend to find jobs regardless of the quality of their jobs, 46.5 percent of the country’s elderly population earns less than half the income of the same age group. 

“It will be difficult to reverse the trend where more elderly people work than young people, but measures are needed to alleviate the trend,” said Professor Cho Young-tae of Seoul National University’s School of Public Health.

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