Nearly 75% of Korean healthcare service laborers worked 5 years or less < Policy < Article


The share of workers with “five years or less” years of career in the healthcare service industry stood at 73.4 percent, higher than in other industries, a local report showed.

In addition, the number of health industry workers 60 and older increased by 9.4 percent year-on-year, while the number of younger workers (29 and under) decreased by 1.7 percent. According to this report, that seems to be due to the decline in the youth population and the continued increase in the labor force participation rate of older adults.

(KBR photo)
(KBR photo)

The Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) recently released the report on the employment trend of the health industry in the fourth quarter of 2023.

In the fourth quarter of last year, 1.05 million people were employed in the health industry, an increase of 3.4 percent (35,000 workers) year-on-year. This was 1.2 percentage points higher than the growth rate of all industries, which grew by 2.2 percent.

As women’s labor force participation rate continued to increase across industries, the number of female workers in the health industry (+3.6 percent) was higher than that of males (+2.6 percent). In particular, the increase rate of female workers in the pharmaceutical industry (+4.2 percent) was relatively high, while that of male workers in the medical device industry and medical services (+2.9 percent) was higher.

The strongest growth in the number of workers was among those aged 60 and older, with a 9.4 percent year-over-year increase, followed by those in their 50s (+6.7 percent), 30s (+4.7 percent), and 40s (+3.4 percent).

In contrast, the number of younger workers (29 and under) decreased by 1.7 percent year over year. The 60+ age group had the highest proportion of workers in healthcare and the highest growth rate in the number of workers in healthcare.

That was likely due to the declining population of young people, the continued increase in the labor force participation rate of older adults, and the aging of the caregiving workforce.

Besides, the share of workers with a service period of five years or less was largest in the healthcare sector, with 71.1 percent (748,000), and the share of workers with five years or less (73.4 percent) was higher than in other industries.

By industry, the number of workers in the healthcare service grew faster than other industries (+3.5% year-on-year), followed by medical devices (+3.3%), cosmetics (+3.0%), and pharmaceuticals (+2.4%).

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the number of healthcare service workers increased by 3.5 percent year-on-year to 872,000, accounting for 82.9 percent of all workers in the health industry. General clinics showed the highest growth rate of 6.1 percent, followed by general hospitals (+5.9 percent) and oriental medicine hospitals (+5.8 percent).

“In 2023, the number of jobs in the health industry continued its upward trend, maintaining a growth rate of 3 percent,” said Lee Byung-kwan, head of the Biohealth Innovation Planning Center at the state-run agency. “In 2024, employment in the health industry is facing various issues, including uncertain external economic conditions and prolonged geopolitical risks. So it is necessary to take preemptive responses by closely monitoring changes in each health industry along with macroeconomic trends and actively exploring emerging markets.”


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