Women gobbling up part-time jobs

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Women gobbling up part-time jobs

The number of irregular female workers in the country rose in the first quarter while the number of men on part-time or yearly contracts declined, the Statistics Korea said yesterday.

The data showed that the total number of irregular workers stood at 5.8 million as of March, up 0.7 percent on-year, fed mostly by increased demand for jobs from older women believed to be seeking work to handle high levels of inflation.

Women accounted for just more than half, or 3.1 million, of the total, up 3.3 percent from March 2011. The size of the male irregular workforce was down 2.2 percent.

“Further studies need to be carried out, but the rising number of women is likely to have derived from workers in their 50s and 60s,” said Peyong Jae-min, a research fellow at the Korea Labor Institute.

By age group, irregular workers in their 20s dropped 1.5 percent, while those in their 30s fell 6.3 percent. Those in their 40s climbed 1.6 percent and 3.6 percent more 50-somethings turned to part-time jobs. The largest jump came among those in their 60s and up, who saw a 9.8 percent surge.

“Older women started looking for part-time jobs due to rising consumer prices,” said an official at the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

Meanwhile, for the first time, the number of Koreans who chose to be irregular workers surpassed the number forced into accepting such positions for lack of alternatives, the report said. It cited people’s growing demand for free time. The report also showed that irregular workers’ average monthly wage hit 1.43 million won ($1,209) in the first quarter of the year, up 76,000 won on year, while regular employees’ salaries stood at a median 2.45 million won.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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