Report urges job flexibility to increase employment

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Report urges job flexibility to increase employment

To reach the new administration’s goal of raising the country’s employment rate to 70 percent, a report released by a leading business lobby group suggests that Korean companies adopt a more flexible workplace environment.

“For the government to reach 70 percent employment [by the end of its five-year term], there should be a settled working environment where there is diversification and flexibility in working hours and location,” according to the report released yesterday by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). As of last year, Korea’s employment rate stood at 64.2 percent.

The so-called workplace flexibility system allows employees, with the approval of their employers, choose when and where they will work to boost efficiency and productivity.

According to the report, compared to Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, Korean companies are lagging behind in terms of workplace flexibility. For example, less than 10 percent of local firms have adopted the flexible working system, whereas in other major countries about half of companies have done so. Only 6.1 percent of companies allow flexible work hours compared to 51.3 percent in Japan and 40 percent in Germany. Such a system allows employees to work more hours during busy times and fewer when it’s not.

“Korea’s overall employment structure is focused on recruiting men as full-time regular employees,” said an official from the KCCI. “Such a labor structure - which lowers the employment rate especially for women and young people - is no longer considered appropriate when it comes to increasing employment.”

By Lee Eun-joo []
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