In South Korea, employment shock caused by the Covid 19 has affected women more than men.
According to “November Employment Trends” by the National Statistical Office released on December 20th, the number of unemployed women reached 427,000 last month, which is up 28.8% (96,000) from a year earlier. The increase rate is the largest since July 2014 (by 29.4 percent). This is in contrast to the 1.0 percent (6,000) increase in the number of male unemployed (540,000). The decrease in the number of employed people was also more women. Last month, the number of employed women (11.71 million) dropped by 188,000 (1.6 percent) from a year ago. In comparison, the number of employed men (15,523,000) decreased by 85,000 (0.5 percent).
The decline in the number of women employed has been greater than that of men for nine months since March. The impact on women’s employment is more serious since the service industries which have a high proportion of female workers such as lodging, restaurant and education services have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The number of female employees decreased compared to the same period last year in the arts, sports and leisure-related service (-7.4%), lodging and restaurant (-7.1%), and education service (6.7%). The number of employment- inactive people who do not wish to find jobs rose by 431,000 from the same month last year, up 219,000 women and 212,000 men, respectively.
It is pointed out that the government’s role, such as job policies tailored to industrial changes, is needed to solve the structural problems of women’s jobs, which are more vulnerable to social disaster situations such as Covid19.
“There is a strong overall impact on the labor market due to the Covid 19, but women and young people are the most affected,” said Sung- Mi Jung, a deputy researcher at the Korea Women’s Policy Institute. “In particular, the problem is more pronounced in the face of the infectious disease crisis, especially in the job structure.” “The labor market outlook is not good, and it is an important time for the government to allow vulnerable groups to survive by preserving their income. A policy should also be taken into account of the quality of jobs so that vulnerable people can enter the empty areas at a time when the industrial structure changes,” she said.