Pandemic affected more women workers than men in South Korea

The number of employed women aged between 25 and 54 fell by 541,000 year-on-year last March, more than the 327,000 for men in the same age group.
By: | April 26, 2021

This was according to a report by the Korea Development Institute (KDI) which attributed the discrepancy to the pandemic leading to job losses in various degrees for different sectors. 

The report also showed that married women in the workforce were more severely affected by the pandemic than married men. This was in contrast to the previous economic crisis when married men suffered drastic job losses. 

The report attributed the higher job losses for women in general to the fact that more women than men worked in the in-person occupations which were hit the hardest by the pandemic. 

In addition, more working moms had to quit their jobs to take care of children at home as the pandemic prompted schools to delay openings and proceed with online classes, the report said. “Career breaks by women could lead to a permanent loss of human capital. This could sap economic productivity and vitality after the end of the pandemic.” 

Due to lockdowns and social distancing measures, person-to-person service sectors, such as restaurants, hospitality and small retailers, have been impacted by the pandemic as consumers have stayed away from shops amid concerns about infections. 

READ: One in five part-timers in South Korea wants to work longer

The statistics agency said in 2020, on-year, the wholesale and retail sector lost 160,000 jobs, followed closely by the loss of 159,000 jobs in the accommodation and food service sector, while the education service sector lost 86,000 jobs. 

For the whole of 2020, the country lost 218,000 jobs, the highest number since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, according to Korea Bizwire.