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Average age of Korean workers rises over 40

May 08,2017

Employed Koreans have been getting older over the past five years in line with the country’s rapid population aging, with the average age of the jobless falling, a report said Sunday.

The persistence of such a situation is feared to increase the burden of local companies and make some industries have difficulties recruiting new employees due to a dearth of young workers.

According to the report by the Hyundai Research Institute, the average age of employed Koreans has increased by 2.1 years over the past five years, with the number rising to 41.1 years from the mid-30s in the early 2000s.

The average age of employed women climbed to 39.6 years in 2015 from 36.1 years in 2010, while that for men edged up to 41.9 years from 40.3 years. “The average age of employed women is fast rising as more middle-aged and elderly women become active in finding jobs due to breadwinners’ stagnating income, rising education spending and greater debt-servicing burdens,” said Kim Cheon-koo, a researcher at the institute.

The report also showed the average age of jobless people inched down to 37.7 years in 2016 from 38 years amid high youth unemployment.

According to government data, the unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 29 came to 11.3 percent in March though it was down from February’s 12.3 percent.

Kim pointed out that local companies could face greater cost burdens, given the possibility of older workers getting higher wages compared with their productivity, adding that some industries may face hiring difficulties due to a shortage of young skilled workers.

Korea has been gripped by fast population aging. The country is widely predicted to become an aged society in 2017 with the ratio of people aged 65 and older hitting 14 percent of its 50 million population. It is forecast to emerge as a super-aged society in 2026, with the figure hovering above 20 percent. Yonhap