The global solution for human resource professionals, combines custom research, strategic white papers, country primers, webinars and OnDemand educational programs, and the expert guidance...
By Jiyeun Lee
Feb. 27—It's ironic that one of the few positive signs on gender trends in South Korea's workforce owes as much to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as to the nation's first female president.
The labor participation rate among South Korean women aged 20 to 24 was almost 55 percent last year, compared with about 44 percent for men. While this is one sign that women are playing a more active role in Asia's fourth-largest economy, the figures are skewed by compulsory military service, which removes young men from the workforce for almost two years as they help stand guard against the north. This trend reverses as women leave the workforce to have children, however, which is one reason Gender Equality and Family Minister Kim Hee Jung believes the nation has a lot more to do when it comes to assisting women in their late 20s and 30s.
The issue is a pressing one, as the country's workforce is forecast to start shrinking beginning in 2017.
“Gender equality for entry-level employees has been achieved to some extent,” Kim said in an interview Feb. 23 in Seoul. “The issue now is to help women stay within their jobs and encourage them to restart careers after taking childcare leave. We can't talk about having more female executives without steps to help women continue their careers.”
According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, one percentage point would be added to South Korea's GDP growth annually if the female participation rate equaled that of men. Half the women over 15 years old were in the labor force in 2013, compared to 49 percent in Japan and 64 percent in China, according to the International Labor Organization. While Korean women have increased their presence at the entry level, however, they are still under-represented in management.
The administration of Park Geun Hye, the nation's first female president, is seeking to increase the number of childcare facilities and improve their quality and encouraging more flexible work hours as a means to increase female participation in the workforce.
“The government is . . . trying to help women who are capable, but have been excluded from promotion just because of their gender,” Kim said.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at email@example.com
For more information on South Korean HR law and regulation, see the South Korea primer.
©  Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)