September 30, 2011

KOREA: Six out of every 10 people over 55 want to work

SOEUL, Korea / The Chosun Ilbo / News / September 30, 2011

60% of Elderly People Seek Jobs

Six out of every 10 people over 55 want to work, according to a survey, because they failed to prepare for their post-retirement lives and are having a hard time making ends meet. This has led to Korea ranking second among OECD member countries in terms of the number of elderly people who are part of the economically active population

Statistics Korea (photo shows headquarters) on Thursday said 58.5 percent of Koreans 55 to 79 years of age want to find jobs. When asked why they want to work, 59.4 percent said to make money to support themselves. Only 35.5 percent said to enjoy their lives.

Many senior citizens therefore actively searching for work, with the so-called participation rate in economic activities -- i.e. those either in work or looking for jobs -- among the elderly at 29.4 percent or nearly one-third. That puts Korea only behind Iceland (36.2 percent) among OECD member countries.

Also, elderly people in Korea spend an average of one hour and 39 minutes a day laboring, which is much longer than the average of seven to 42 minutes a day in other OECD member countries.

All of this is because they are poorly prepared for their post-retirement lives. Only 39 percent of people over 65 said they are "somewhat" ready, leaving 61 percent unprepared.

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