New policies to address workforce imbalance in South Korea

Foreign employee expansion and flexible regulations have reduced job vacancies in South Korea, with younger generations most impacted.
By: | September 14, 2023

To address the growing workforce imbalance driven by an aging population, South Korea is set to unveil a series of policies.

Kim Byong-hwan, South Korea’s First Vice Minister of Economy and Finance, emphasised the urgency of the situation, citing the challenges posed by population shifts and industrial infrastructure deterioration in certain regions of the country.

As of July 2023, the nation successfully reduced job vacancies to 216,000, marking a decline of 13,000 compared to the same period the previous year. This was attributed to a range of measures, including the implementation of more flexible regulations facilitating the employment of foreign employees. South Korea is now considering further options, including the expansion of opportunities for foreign employees to address workforce shortages, particularly at smaller organisations.

Highlighting the importance of addressing the employment challenges faced by younger generations, Kim affirmed the government’s commitment to providing support. Recent data indicated a significant disparity in job opportunities, with senior citizens aged 60 and above experiencing an increase 304,000 jobs year-on-year, while individuals in their 20s faced a decline of 91,000 jobs.

READ MORE: South Korea failing to stamp out workplace gender discrimination

Kim also pointed out a potential uptick in job creation within the service sector in the coming months. This optimism is driven by the resumption of Chinese group tours, which recommenced last month and are expected to stimulate economic activity.

However, the country remains vigilant about sluggish job additions in sectors such as manufacturing and construction. Kim added that the government plans to closely monitor these industries as part of its broader efforts to ensure a balanced and sustainable workforce, reported The Korea Times.