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Snapshot of age at work issues in South Korea – a similar picture for younger workers to the UK?

by on November 6, 2015

Only a week or so since China announced the end of its ‘one baby’ policy in the face of an ageing population, this article on the Bloomberg website examines the demographic profile of another Asian country, South Korea. Here, those 65 and older make up 13% of the population, which is up from 10% in 2007. Korea’s birthrate is lower than Japan’s (another country facing an ageing population) at just 1.2 children per woman.

The article goes on to discuss the effects of this on the Korean labour market. It seems that whilst it is felt that the ageing profile should create openings for younger workers in fact the average unemployment for workers aged 15 to 29 has risen from 7.7% in 2012 to 9.6% – though the piece does not give the comparative rates for other age groups.

There also seem to be similar issues for young people in Korea as there are in the UK with the complaint that jobs for them are temporary or lack the full benefits that older workers enjoy. It is said that Koreans in the “aging part of the workforce” are the ones with permanent positions, according to Adrian Mowat at J.P. Morgan Securities. He is quoted as saying “The people in their late 20s and early 30s are the ones who are struggling.” So, very similar to some of the headlines we reported earlier in the week following the EHRC report on fairness in the UK.

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