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Korea ranks No. 18 of 25 OECD members in Q2 employment

Headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris (OECD)
Headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris (OECD)
SEJONG -- South Korea underperformed in a comparison of employment among some members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It ranked 18th among 25 major economies that released hiring data for the second quarter.

Alongside the tough job market, the proportion of nonregular workers held by Korea far exceeded the OECD average.

According to the France-based organization, Korea posted 65.4 percent in the employment rate in the second quarter of the year, which is an indicator for the portion of employed among the working-age population, aged between 15-64.

This fell short of figures from Switzerland (79.1 percent), Japan (77 percent), New Zealand (76.8 percent), the UK (75.4 percent), Norway (74.4 percent), Denmark (74.1 percent), Estonia (72.1 percent), Latvia (72 percent) and Lithuania (71.6 percent).

Among others outstripping Korea in employment were Austria with 71.4 percent, Australia with 70.5 percent, Slovenia with 69.8 percent, Portugal with 67.7 percent, Slovakia with 67.2 percent Luxembourg with 67.1 percent, Israel with 66.7 percent and Ireland with 65.9 percent.

Only seven members ranked behind Korea among the 25 members as of Sept 27. Though the OECD has yet to compile the corresponding-period data for 12 of its total 37 members, there is a high possibility that Korea will lag behind the average in the employment index.

Further, a core seriousness of the job market in Korea lies in the fact that the portion of nonregular workers has reached a “critical” level.

According to the OECD, Korea saw the percentage of temporary workers of all salaried workers come to 24.4 percent (No. 4 among the 34 OECD members) as of 2019, while three of the 37 economies were not included in the comparison. A temporary employee (nonregular workers in the local market) refers to a salaried worker whose job has a predetermined termination date.

The figure is aggravating worries over job security, as it remains quite high compared to the OECD average of 11.8 percent.

The UK recorded 5.2 percent in the portion of temporary jobs. Hungary showed 6.6 percent, with New Zealand at 7.8 percent, the Czech Republic with 8.3 percent, Ireland with 9.8 percent, Belgium with 10.9 percent and Turkey with 11.6 percent.

Others with figures beyond Korea included Germany (11.9 percent), Greece (12.5 percent), Canada (12.8 percent), France (16.4 percent), Sweden (16.6 percent), Italy (17 percent), Portugal (20.8 percent) and Poland (21.8 percent).

Meanwhile, the tally for nonregular workers in Korea, the broader category that involves temporary workers, surged by about 900,000 in only two years -- from 6.57 million in August 2017 to 7.48 million in August 2019, Statistics Korea data showed.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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