The number of temporary workers in Korea has exceeded six million, but their pay and working conditions are showing few signs of improvement.
According to the government’s data, the number increased by 131,000 from a year earlier to 6.077 million as of the end of August this year. Still, the ratio of temps to all paid workers is falling. The ratio, which had been 36.6 percent in 2005, dropped to 34.2 percent in 2011 and then to 32.4 percent in August 2014. This is because the numbers of temps and full-time workers in general are going up at the same time.
At present, 53.5 percent of the temporary workers are women. The number of male temps increased 2.4 percent year-on-year to 2.826 million, while that of female temporary workers increased 2.0 percent to 3.251 million.
By age group, those in their 40s accounted for 21.3 percent of the non-regular workers, followed by 50s (21.1 percent), 60s or older (19.5 percent), 20s (17.9 percent), and 30s (17.2 percent). Compared to the preceding year, the third and fourth groups showed an increase of 11.1 percent and 5.8 percent each, whereas the first, fifth, and second recorded a 2.0 percent, 1.6 percent and 0.8 percent decrease, respectively.
In the meantime, the monthly average pay of waged workers between June and August this year increased 2.3 percent from the previous year to 2.231 million won (US$2,128). That of permanent workers went up by 2.3 percent to 2.604 million won (US$2,484), but that of the others edged up by just 1.8 percent to 1.453 million won (US$1,387) during the same period.
The former’s national pension subscription rate was 82.1 percent, 0.9 percentage points up from a year ago. However, the latter’s fell by 0.8 percentage points to 38.4 percent. As far as the national health insurance is concerned, the figures were 84.1 percent (0.6 percentage points up) vs. 44.7 percent (1.5 percentage points down).