People fill out application forms at a job fair in Seoul earlier this month. (Yonhap)
SEJONG – The most recent employment rate was highest among men residing in Sejong and women residing in Jeju province, according to a state agency’s analysis of figures from 17 major regions, eight cities and nine provinces of South Korea.
Data from Statistics Korea showed that the country’s employment rate for those aged 15 to 64 stood at 60.4% in June 2021 (the latest statistics available), in which a large gap between men and women is observed – 70% for men against 51.2 percent for women.
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young / The Korea Herald)
These numbers were low compared to December 2019 – a month before COVID-19 initially hit the country – when the employment rate hit 61.7% (71.1% for men and 52.5% for women ).
Although the employment index is likely to improve after hitting bottom in the first half of 2020, the disparities between residents of the 17 major regions, as well as the gender gap, were found to be quite important.
Sejong topped the male employment rate list with 75.5% in June. This contrasts with 65.1 percent among men in Busan (lowest) and 67.6 percent in both Seoul and Gwangju (second lowest).
The higher figure in Sejong is attributed to the fact that a significant portion of its male employees work in the country’s largest government complex or in state-funded agencies in the administrative city, which have strong security. employment.
But falling numbers – which have remained below the national average for men – in Seoul, Busan and Gwangju suggest unstable job security and high unemployment rates in metropolitan cities, which have been further compounded by the pandemic.
Other regions, whose numbers were below the national average, were Daegu at 68.3 percent, Ulsan at 68.5 percent and Daejeon at 69.1 percent.
Jeju ranked second in male employment rate (73.9%), followed by South Chungcheong Province (73.5%), South Jeolla Province (73.4%), North Chungcheong Province (72.4) and North Gyeonggi and Gyeongsang Provinces (71.5).
For women, the No. 1 location was Jeju Province at 63.6 percent, which is about 12 percentage points higher than the national average female employment rate, 51.2 percent .
A dominant portion of women on the country’s largest island, Jeju, work as divers in fishing activities – known as “haenyeo” – or as farmers or small business owners or workers in the service industry.
This represented a large disparity with 45.9 percent in Ulsan (the lowest female employment rate), 48 percent in Busan (second lowest), 48.7 percent in Daegu and 49.9 percent. in Gyeonggi province.
Although Sejong residents (51.6%) were above average, her ranking among the 17 regions was in 10th place, which contrasted with the No.1 position of Sejong residents.
A large portion of the young female civil servants in their 20s and 30s – working in the government complex or in state-run agencies in the administrative city – officially reside in Seoul, Gyeonggi or other areas, based on registration of state residents. . They either commute or temporarily live in studios and apartments around the complex.
Women in Seoul (51.7 percent) and Incheon (52 percent) ranked ninth and seventh, respectively, surpassing the figures of the other six major cities.
After Jeju, Gangwon Province – where many women engage in agriculture or fishing – ranks second with 56 percent. South Jeolla Province (55.5%) was third, followed by North Chungcheong Province (54.3%) and South Chungcheong Province (53.4%).
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)