The Korea Herald


Korea’s average working age expected to surpass 50 by 2035: report

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : July 21, 2023 - 15:29

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The average age of employed individuals in South Korea could exceed 50 years old by 2035, due to an aging population exacerbated by declining birth rates, a study showed, Friday.

The Sustainable Growth Initiative, a branch of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently released a report that revealed the average age of Korea's working population could reach unprecedented heights.

The study projected the average age of employed Koreans to be approximately 46.8 years old in 2022, and with current demographic trends, this number is anticipated to exceed 50 in the 2030s.

Alarmingly, the report also suggested a possible scenario where the average age could climb to 53.7 by 2050, in line with future population estimates provided by Statistics Korea. This will be about 10 years older than the average for member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is 43.8.

Considering the recent trend of increasing participation in economic activities of the aged and worsening low birth rates, the aging rate of employed people may be accelerating more than expected, the report added.

The SGI urged several countermeasures, including improving the efficiency of low birth rate policy, improving the productivity of the aged and wage system reforms, saying the supply of creative ideas by young people is becoming crucial for sustainable growth, as the economic and industrial paradigm is now centering on intangible assets such as R&D and software.

"A decrease in the supply of a young and high-quality workforce amid fierce competition among countries and rapid technological changes could greatly hinder the overall productivity of the country," the SGI said.