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BOK Working Paper No.2018-34, Characteristics and Problems of the Employment Structure in Korea

Economic Research Institute (82-2-759-5411) 2018.11.04 3295

Title : Characteristics and Problems of the Employment Structure in Korea

Author : Keunho Jang(BOK)


As Korean economy grew, employment expanded steadily, with the number of economically active population increasing and the employment-to-population rate increasing. However, the working age population has started to decrease since 2017, and the employment of women and young people has been sluggish. The proportion of non-salaried workers is much higher than in other OECD countries and also excessive considering Korea’s income levels. In addition, the proportion of non-regular workers and the proportion of workers employed in small enterprises are high among wage workers.

In light of the characteristics of employment in Korea, the urgent problem of employment structure can be summarized by the deepening dual structure of the labor market, the increase of youth unemployment, the sluggish female employment, and the excessive share of self-employment.

Overall, it is judged that labor market duality is the main structural factor of the employment problem in Korea. Therefore, in order to fundamentally address the employment problem in Korea, it is necessary to concentrate policy efforts to alleviate labor market duality.

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