Gig jobs grow popular in Korea, taking away workers from traditional workplaces

2021.12.13 11:46:04 | 2021.12.13 16:59:46

[Photo by Kim Ho-young]이미지 확대

[Photo by Kim Ho-young]

Gig jobs are growing popular in Korea as young workers in their 20s and 30s increasingly prefer flexibility in work hours, shunning away low-paying full-time jobs at traditional workplaces such as in the manufacturing sector.

Baedal Minjok, the country’s top food delivery app operator said Sunday that it has a total of 20,000 active Baemin Connect Partners, or those contracted workers who provide on-demand food delivery service, as of October this year. The figure is doubled from December last year, according to the company.

Coupang, the country’s e-commerce giant also hires a vast number of independent contractors who provide on-demand services. It has some 100,000 Coupang Flex contracted workers who deliver items to customers for the online marketplace operator via their own means of transportation, such as their own car, as of the end of 2020.

According to a report published by Korea’s labor ministry and Korea Employment Information Service in November, there are about 220,000 people working as gig workers for online platforms, accounting for 8.5 percent of the country’s total employees.

The gig economy has grown rapidly recently as demand for online shopping and other services has surged under Covid-19 social restrictions. Technology advancement also has allowed companies to easily match workers based on workload, for example, assigning delivery orders depending on a deliverer’s traveling distance and time. Moreover, online platforms pay a fair hourly wage or commission per delivery, making the job attractive for workers who seek good pays with flexible work hours.

[Photo by MK DB]이미지 확대

[Photo by MK DB]

Such a trend has resulted in shortages in factory workers in the country, especially around the area where online store operators’ fulfillment centers are located. Many factories are having difficulty hiring full-time factory workers these days.

Thanks to the growing popularity of gig jobs, services for matching companies with gig workers for contract jobs are also expanding rapidly.

Talent Bank, an online platform that links clients with workers for contract jobs, such as website development and graphics designing, saw the number of matching requests jump from 368 in 2019 to 876 in 2020, then to 622 by June this year.

Kmong, another major freelancer job matching platform, has recorded a 47 percent on-year jump in gross merchandise value in the third quarter this year. Its number of corporate clients also doubled over the same period.

Soomgo, an online platform that connects gig workers with teaching jobs to home interior projects, has seen the number of quotes made by personal service providers for clients through its site surge 193.06 percent to 37.5 million cases this year through September versus a year-ago period. The platform has 790,000 subscribed members as service providers with 300,000 newly registered this year.

By Hong Sung-yong, Kang Min-ho and Cho Jeehyun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]