The Korea Herald


[News Focus] Korea ranks 26th of 32 OECD members in employment

In Q3 2020, Japan placed No. 4, Czech Republic at No. 7

By Kim Yon-se

Published : Jan. 7, 2021 - 16:47

    • Link copied

The headquarters of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation in Paris (OECD) The headquarters of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation in Paris (OECD)

SEJONG -- South Korea still fell short of major economies in the employment index as of the third quarter of last year, which was the latest available data.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Korea posted 65.7 percent in the employment rate for people aged between 15-64, deemed the working age population, in September 2020.

While the OECD compared 32 members, Korea ranked 26th in the index. Of the total 37 members, the French-based organization had yet to compile third-quarter data for five -- Germany, Greece, Mexico, Poland and Turkey.

Korea far lagged compared to Asia-Pacific neighbors such as Japan (fourth among 32 members) with 77 percent in the employment rate, New Zealand (fifth) with 76.2 percent and Australia (13th) with 72 percent.

Some emerging economies also outstripped Korea: The Czech Republic (seventh) with 74.3 percent, Estonia (11th) with 73 percent, Latvia (15th) with 71.3 percent, Lithuania (16th) with 70.6 percent, Slovenia (18th) with 70.3 percent and Hungary (19th) with 69.9 percent.
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald) (Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald)

Iceland topped the list at 81.7 percent, followed by Switzerland at 79.8 percent and the Netherlands at 77.5 percent.

Among the others included in the top 10 were Sweden (sixth) with 75 percent, the UK (eighth) with 74.2 percent, Norway (ninth) with 74.2 percent and Denmark (10th) with 74 percent.

In contrast, Korea posted the fourth-highest portion of temporary workers of the total salaried workers among the OECD members as of 2019.

A temporary employee refers to a salaried worker whose job has a predetermined termination date. People in this category are classified as nonregular workers in the local hiring market, alongside contract workers and part-time workers.

The figure of 24.4 percent in Korea far surpassed the OECD average of 11.8 percent, the European Union average of 13.6 percent and Group of Seven average of 8.8 percent for the corresponding year.

Korea’s figure also contrasted the 1.5 percent in Lithuania in temporary job portion, 3.1 percent in Estonia, 3.2 percent in Latvia, 5.2 percent in the UK, 6.6 percent in Hungary, 7.8 percent in New Zealand, 8.2 percent in Slovakia, 8.7 percent in Austria and 11.6 percent in Turkey.

Other OECD members whose figures were under the OECD average also included Belgium with 10.9 percent, Ireland with 9.8 percent, Luxembourg with 9.2 percent, the Czech Republic with 8.3 percent, Norway with 8 percent and Iceland with 7.8 percent.

While Korea was No. 7 in temporary job percentage in 2018, the country overtook the Netherlands, Portugal and Poland.

According to Statistics Korea, the portion of nonregular workers -- which includes temporary workers -- reached 36.3 percent in the nation as of August 2020.

The figure suggests worsening job security, given that the percentage of nonregular jobs of the total salaried jobs was 32.4 percent in August 2015, and 33.4 percent in August 2020.

Further, the portion of female nonregular employees came to a record high of 45 percent as of August 2020, while the figure for men was 29.4 percent.

In Korea, job statuses are commonly divided into regular jobs with permanent contracts and consequent protections for workers, and nonregular jobs, such as temporary jobs, contract jobs and other forms of work with low job security.

By Kim Yon-se (