Work-life Balance: Korean Workers Show Lowest Productivity in OECD, despite Long Overtime | BusinessKorea

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

19 February 2014 - 4:05pm

It has been found that the work-life balance of the Korean people is the lowest level in the OECD. It is in this context that the Korean government launched a new national campaign on February 18 to improve overall productivity by means of a change in the way of work. 

In 2012, each waged Korean employee worked for 2,092 hours, which was 420 hours more than the OECD average. The numbers were 1,765 for Japanese workers, and 1,334 for the Dutch. 

Meanwhile, the labor productivity per working hour was US$29.75 as of the end of 2011, whereas the OCED average was US$44.56. The Netherlands’ labor productivity per working hour amounted to US$59.73, in spite of the much shorter hours worked. 

According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor’s survey carried out this year, 43.65 percent of employees in Korea worked overtime each day for at least one hour. Fully 25.8 percent of the respondents said that they worked overtime because it was considered natural, while 20.9 percent and 9.4 percent mentioned low work efficiency during working hours and pressure from their senior workers, respectively. Just 25 percent of the respondents answered that overtime work was helpful for their job performance. 

In the meantime, approximately 30 percent of the employees failed to use half of their leave. A similar amount, 33.2 percent, were mindful of their bosses, while 21.9 percent were wary of a negative performance assessment. In addition, about 70 percent of the workers experienced burn-out, that is, a drop in working efficiency and concentration caused by a lack of rest and self-development, but did not have any specific countermeasure against it. 

With working hours increasing, the Work-life Balance Index fell to 5.4 last year, which was the 28th spot in the OECD. Denmark marked the highest score in the index at 9.8. Only Japan (4.1), Mexico (3.0), and Turkey (0) followed Korea on the list.

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