The competitiveness of the South Korean labor market declined for the past 10 years unlike those of the rest of the labor markets of the seven “20-50 club” countries.
On December 19, the Korea Economic Research Institute announced based on the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) that South Korea dropped in the rankings compared to 10 years ago in every major category. The annual report, which has been published since 1979, is divided into 98 statistical and survey-based items constituting 12 categories. This year’s Global Competitiveness Report covers 140 countries, in which the United States, Singapore and Germany came in first, second and third, respectively. South Korea took the 15th place.
South Korea is at the bottom among the seven 20-50 club countries when it comes to labor-management cooperation and redundancy costs. In these categories, South Korea fell from 95th to 124th and from 108th to 114th from 2008 to 2018, respectively. The 20-50 club countries are those with a national income per capita of at least US$20,000 and a population of at least 50 million. They are the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, France and South Korea.
As for labor-management cooperation, Japan rose from sixth to fifth, the U.S. rose from 16th to sixth, and Germany rose from 27th to 19th during the same period. As for redundancy costs, the U.S. took the first place in 2008 and 2018 alike and the other five countries rose in the rankings without exception.
When it comes to hiring and firing practices, South Korea slid from 45th to 87th, showing the most significant deterioration among the seven countries. On the other hand, Germany and Britain rose from 130th to 11th and from 61st to sixth, respectively.
In pay and productivity, South Korea moved down from 14th to 16th. It rose to 53rd in female participation in the labor force, yet Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. ranked as high as 17th, 21st, 29th and 37th, respectively.