South Korea sees increase in non-regular female workers in their 20s

The number of women in their 20s who held non-regular jobs rose the fastest, growing by 5.5 percentage points.
By: | April 13, 2021

As of last August, the number of non-regular workers – including those in temporary or contract jobs – among women in their 20s came to 690,000 of the total 1.77 million salaried workers in the same group, making up 38.9%, rising 5.5 percentage points from the same period in 2017. 

This growth exceeded those from seven other “core” working-age groups based on data from Statistics Korea.  

The number of male workers in their 20s in non-regular jobs ranked second in terms of growth, rising by 3.7 percentage points from 32.6% to 36.3% or 592,000 of the total 1.62 million salaried employees in the same group. 

The data suggests that college or high school graduates are facing a tighter labour market resulting from a prolonged economic slowdown since the late 2010s and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is also an indication that young women are still facing discrimination in hiring. 

The next core groups were: men in their 30s with a 3 percentage-point increase to 18.4%, men in their 50s with a 1.4 percentage point increase to 26.5%, and women in their 40s with a 1.3 percentage point increase to 37.5%. 

While the growth of non-regular work was relatively low among women in their 30s (0.7 percentage-point increase) and men in their 40s (0.4 percentage-point increase), women in their 50s posted the lowest of 1.2 percentage-point decrease. 

READ: South Korea’s revised labour law allows more flexible work week

Although the number of women in their 50s in non-regular work showed negative growth, it made up 44.1% in the same group. This figure was the highest compared with those from other core groups. 

Eight core working-age groups – men and women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s – were compared by The Korea Herald.