Number of platform workers rises to 2.2 million

SEOUL-- The number of platform workers in South Korea is estimated to have increased to 2.2 million, accounting for 8.5 percent of the nation's total employment, a government report said Thursday.

Platform workers refer to individuals who provide specific services to customers through the medium of online platforms, such as smartphone applications.

The report was issued by the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the state-run Korea Employment Information Service based on their sample survey conducted from August to September on 51,000 people aged between 15 and 69.

The report classifies the people working through online platforms into platform workers in a narrow sense and platform workers in a broad sense.

In the case of narrow-sense platform workers, their services intermediated via digital platforms are open to many people, not specific people, and customer satisfaction evaluations affect their work assignments. For instance, delivery drivers of food delivery app Baedal Minjok are narrow-sense platform workers, while restaurant owners using the delivery app are not platform workers.

Broad-sense platform workers refer to individuals who are assigned a job through an app but are not controlled by an organization, like freelancers.

The report estimated the number of broad-sense platform workers at 2.2 million, or 8.5 percent of total employment, and the number of narrow-sense platform workers at 660,000, or 2.6 percent of total employment.

In a similar survey conducted in 2020, the number of broad-sense and narrow-sense platform workers was tallied at 1.79 million and 220,000, respectively, it said, noting those surveyed last year were aged between 15 and 64.

Women accounted for 46.5 percent of the 2.2 million platform workers, while the ratio of young people in their 20s and 30s was 55.2 percent.

By type of platform services, delivery, transport and driving accounted for 29.9 percent, followed by food preparation, customer service and sales (23.7 percent) and professional services, such as interpretation and translation (9.9 percent), and clerical assistance and security (8.6 percent).

On average, narrow-sense platform workers worked 21.9 days a month and 8.9 hours a day, earning 1.92 million won (US$1,630) a month, the report said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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