Employees in South Korea - statistics and facts

Historically, South Korea has managed to record steep and rapid economic growth, dubbing this economic expansion as the ‘miracle of the Han River’. However, the country was faced with the problem of an aging population; this conundrum was further compounded by the fact that it also had one of the lowest fertility rates in east Asia. If these patterns were left to continue, South Korea would run into economic troubles due to the decrease in the available labor force in the future.

 What are the working conditions like in South Korea? 

Overall, working conditions and compensation packages are heading in the right direction for South Korean employees. The average salary level has increased over the years while the amount of working days decreased. Additionally, the startup scene in Korea was doing well in recent years, with South Korea being labeled as an innovation-driven economy.

Nevertheless, there were still certain facets of employment in South Korea that could be improved. Even with the continued increase in labor productivity, South Korean employees’ productivity was lower than that of other developed economies in the world. Working long hours was commonplace in South Korea, driven by the undercurrent of social hierarchy in the workplace.

Trade unions were a polarizing subject, being widely regarded as organizations that were involved in political matters to an unnecessary degree. As such, union membership rates were low in South Korea. Even so, more and more employees were registering into trade unions; it remains to be seen how labor unions will further impact working conditions in South Korea.

 Changes spread by COVID-19 

 The outbreak of COVID-19 in South Korea has led companies to start supporting working from home where possible. With the emphasis on stopping the spread of the virus, various work processes were optimized to reduce face-to-face contact wherever possible. While such changes were sudden, they exposed how work conditions that were previously regarded as important or normal can be streamlined.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Employees in South Korea".


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