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  1. 2011.09.18 My Better Life Index

My Better Life Index

2011.09.18 00:47

주거, 소득, 직업, 커뮤니티, 교육, 환경, 정부, 건강, 삶의 만족, 안전, 일과 생활의 균형 등을 경제협력개발기구(OECD) 회원국간의 비교한 지표.

사용자가 직접 만족도를 입력하고 비교할 수 있도록 만들어져 있다.

Better Policies for Better Lives

Finding a suitable balance between work and life is a challenge for all workers, especially working parents. Some couples would like to have (more) children, but do not see how they could afford to stop working. Other parents are happy with the number of children in their family, but would like to work more. This is a challenge to governments because if parents cannot achieve their desired work/life balance, not only is their welfare lowered but so is development in the country.

In Korea, an estimated 60% of mothers are employed after their children begin school; this figure is close to the OECD average of 66% and suggests that mothers are able to successfully balance family and career.

Another important aspect of work-life balance is the amount of time a person spends at work. Evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardize safety and increase stress. People in Korea work 2256 hours a year, the highest rate in the OECD and much higher than the OECD average of 1739 hours.

The more people work, the less time they have to spend on other activities, such as time with others or leisure. The amount and quality of leisure time is important for people’s overall well-being, and can bring additional physical and mental health benefits. People in Korea devote 64% of their day, or 15.5 hours, to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure(socializing with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.) – close to the OECD average.

Data for employees working very long hours andemployment rate of women with children in Korea rely on OECD estimates. These figures will be updated as official information becomes available

Too few babies and too little female employment

At 1.15 children per woman, Korea’s total fertility rate in 2009 was the lowest in the OECD. The decline in the fertility rate is mainly explained by married women having fewer children – families with three or more children have become rare in Korea - and a rise in the number of single women. Simply put, Korean women who are more educated, have jobs, and live in cities are likely to put off marriage.

In addition to the low fertility rate, the female employment rate was also low at 52.2% in 2009, well below the OECD average of 59.6%. Korea has the dual challenge of promoting female labour market participation and increasing fertility rates.  Korea's workplace practices (long working hours, socializing after work, little leave) make it difficult for parents to combine work and family life. After high private investments in education, many young Koreans first want to establish themselves in the regular employment before having children. However, once Korean women who have left the labour force to care for children, wish to return to work, they often end up in non-regular employment which is often low paid, part-time, and temporary. So if they can afford it, mothers will stay at home rather than return to a low-quality job. The result is too few babies and too little female employment, at a time when Korea needs more women in employment as its working age population is aging.

With female educational attainment levels now surpassing those of men, and with projected declines in the labour force, Korea's economy needs to make a more efficient use of its investment in human capital to keep its economic engine going. However, with less than 1% of GDP allocated to family benefits, Korea is the OECD country with the lowest public expenditure on family benefits. Korea should further develop its paid childcare system to help working parents with the cost of young children. Additionally, Korea's fathers should do more work at home to facilitate more women to be in work. In sum, there should be a greater role for flexible working-time arrangements, part-time employment opportunities, and performance-related pay to help Koreans better reconcile work and family life.


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