중앙데일리

Workers sick of drinking sessions after office hours

Oct 14,2010
Three out of 10 Korean workers are dependent on alcohol, according to a recent survey by Incruit, an online job portal.

The survey of 684 workers threw a spotlight on a problem that Koreans don’t normally like to discuss. But few believe the drinking culture can be changed overnight since it is deeply embedded in the corporate culture.

It has been a fact of Korean life that after-work drinking sessions are meant to promote social bonds within companies. But it also has its downside.

In the survey, 27 percent of respondents said they are dependent on alcohol, including 32 percent of men and 22 percent of women.

It reflected the fact that 46 percent of respondents said they go out to drink up to three nights a week, with 77 saying they become drunk 10 percent to 20 percent of the time.

The survey revealed that 9 percent feel they need to get counseling or attend an addiction clinic, with 12.5 percent of men saying it is necessary for them to seek help versus 5.4 percent of women.

Nearly 4 percent of respondents admitted to suffering from alcohol-related illnesses or having to take medication, with 7.1 percent of men and 0.6 percent of women saying this was the case.

“Older workers and bosses still think that drinking together until everyone becomes drunk is the solution to everything and that people get closer on such occasions,” said a banker, surnamed Kim. “However, the younger generation prefers more personal time after work and they see these events as a burden.”

About 90 percent of those questioned said that the drinking culture needs to be changed because they fear they will not be given job promotions and will be considered antisocial if they do not participate.

“The biggest problem is that drinking does not stop at one location. Workers are forced to go to two or three places a night,” said a salaried employee surnamed Bae.

“Since most of the drinking problems are company-related, it would be great if the Korean drinking culture can change like that in other countries where workers are given the choice of attending or not and companies instead hold a big year-end party,” Bae said.

Bae added that the constant rounds of dinners and drinks represent a large cost burden for companies.

The reason is that the places often chosen for the after-work events are expensive and are usually charged to the company expense account.


By Jung Seung-hyun [seungjung@joongang.co.kr]



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