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Government comes up with plan to pave way for new middle aged to pursue "triple-cropping in life"

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Aug 8, 2017


The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and other relevant government agencies jointly announced a plan to pave the way for the new middle-aged to pursue "triple-cropping in life" at the second meeting of the Presidential Committee on Job Creation (presided over by Lee Yong-seop, Vice Chairman of the Committee) held on August 8th (Tue.) at 14:00.


The measures unveiled this time were created according to the 100-day plan for job creation announced by the Committee on June 1st.


The new middle-aged, who are often described as the last generation doubly burdened by having to support their parents and care for their children, are a population group not properly prepared for old age and therefore in desperate need of tailored support, even though they played the leading role in Korea's rapid growth.


After retiring from their main jobs around the age of 50, they are engaged in the second or even third job in which they are re-employed or a social contribution job for another 20 years, and then completely exit the labor market, on average, at 72. However, the government has paid relatively little attention to them as a policy target group.


The features of the measures are as follows:
People in their 50s and 60s who make up one quarter of the total population and one-third of the working-age population will be called 'the new middle-aged'.


* People aged 55 and over have been called 'the aged' and those aged 65 and over called 'the elderly'. But these terms have resulted in a negative image connoting that people in those age groups are retirees.  


For the first time ever, the government announced a comprehensive plan to pave the way to "triple cropping in life" in which people move from their main jobs to the jobs in which they are re-employed after retirement and then to social contribution jobs.


The measures seem likely to serve as a bridge leading to "active ageing" by greatly helping the new middle-aged who have received relatively little attention as a policy target group to prepare for successful "triple cropping in life".


The main policy contents are as follows:


【Path ①: re-employment (paid work)】
The largest number of new middle-aged people choose reemployment as a path to "double- or triple-cropping in life", but they do not use reemployment services sufficiently to find work again.


So the government will move away from the present system or practice of fixing the upper age limit of the working-age population normally at 64 and toward including people aged 69 and older in the target audience for its active employment policies.


It will also develop and provide specialized services for them to ensure that they are not excluded from general employment services just because they are old.


To that end, MOEL will take the following measures:

MOEL will provide universal one-stop services, encompassing lifelong career planning, training and employment/business start-up services, for new middle-aged people earning more than the median income, who have been outside the reach of the Employment Success Package Program (triple-cropping package for the new middle-aged).


And it will expand unemployment benefits in phases to cover people newly employed at or after the age of 65, who are currently ineligible for unemployment benefits.

MOEL will also develop a vocational competency diagnosis program to enable new middle-aged people to prepare for and plan their entire working lives in advance and will create a big data-based career consulting program to match their job competencies and training more effectively. 


It will designate some campuses of Korea Polytechnics as specialized campuses for the new middle-aged to provide specialized training services for them. The designated campuses will intensively manage the new middle-aged by offering courses friendly to or specialized for new middle-aged people and providing amenities for them. MOEL will select four such campuses and seven related departments within this year.


MOEL will develop suitable jobs for the new middle-aged and pay job creation subsidies to employers who hire new middle-aged people for such jobs. 


【Path ②: business start-up】
Starting up a business is the path new middle-aged people choose second most often after reemployment. However, in many cases, new middle-aged people who take this path end up in failure because they start a business without preparation or start a subsistence-type business amid heated competition.


*Of all new businesses, 60.1% survived after one year of operation, 38.2% after three years of operation and 29.0% after five years of operation (average five-year survival rate of 43.9% across OECD countries).


So the government will enhance its function of providing information so that new middle-aged people can avoid starting a subsistence-type business or a business in an overcrowded sector.


It will also expand intergenerational convergence-based start-up support that combines the manufacturing skills of people who retired from their main jobs with the new ICT skills and ideas of young people.


To that end, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) will take the following measures:
MSS will curb new middle-aged people's entry into overcrowded areas or industries and encourage them to switch to specialized or non-subsistence industries (The re-startup package will be expanded: 2,500 people in 2017 → 3,500 people in 2018).


It will improve the new business start-up school which supports prepared startups, especially those whose business items are promising and have high growth potential, thereby increasing startups' chances of success.


MSS will provide intergenerational convergence-based startups (120 teams) with one-stop

support covering the full range from infrastructure to commercialization  through the six intergenerational convergence centers.  


It will also operate the existing 25 skill-based startup centers for senior citizens  in a way to pursue intergenerational convergence. The centers will match skilled retirees with young entrepreneurs, thereby creating a synergy.  


【Path ③: return to farming, fishing or rural villages】
Returning to farming, fishing or rural villages is becoming a social trend as baby boomers are starting to retire in droves and a culture of respect for ecological values is being created. In 2016, 30% of the population returning to farming, fishing or rural villages were new middle-aged people.


However, there is still limited systematic support for them, and some challenges, including removing barriers to entry and enhancing the settlement success rate, remain to be addressed.


* People who return to farming or fishing often face an initial decline in income, a job shortage and problems in assimilating with local residents.


Therefore, with emphasis on achieving co-prosperity between returning farmers, fishermen or rural villagers and local residents, the government will expand support programs that suit the characteristics of such returnees, thereby increasing the chances of them settling down.  


To that end, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) will take the following measures.


MARFA and MOF will increase the number of residential farming startup support centers and residential return-to-fishing schools, which allow prospective farmers or fishermen to live in a family unit and receive field training, thereby expanding opportunities for people to prepare themselves before turning to farming or fishing.


They will actively help returning farmers, fishermen and rural villagers mix well with local residents. For instance, they will support the transfer of farming or fishing skills by matching local specialists with returning farmers, fishermen and rural villagers, and create 20 Oullim Villages in which returning fishermen can prosper together with local residents.


In order to ease such returnees' housing burdens, the two Ministries will expand loans for house purchase and farming and fishing startups and push ahead with a pilot project to build housing complexes for returning farmers and fishermen (LH, six cities and counties).


【Path ④: social contribution】
Potential demand for social contribution activities that enable new middle-aged people to live a rewarding life in old age is high, but related programs are not diverse enough. 


So the government will develop a variety of social problem-solving activity programs in which new middle-aged people can use their expertise and knowhow, thereby expanding their sphere of activities.


To that end, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) will take the following measures.
MOIS will find activity programs and best practices in each issue area of the 10-point social agenda*, and encourage new middle-aged people's participation in those programs and practices in cooperation with their volunteer groups. And it will revise the relevant law to include talent donation in the scope of volunteer work.


* ① education innovation, ② social security & crime prevention, ③ poverty prevention & eradication, ④ leisure culture, ⑤ environment, ⑥ strengthening village communities, ⑦ overcoming the challenges of an ageing society, ⑧ human rights, multiculture & respect for life, ⑨ peaceful unification, ⑩ others


MOIS will also set up a tailored job-matching service that automatically recommends social contribution jobs suited to new middle-aged people's areas of interest, career experience, regions of residence, etc.


Moreover, MOEL, MOHW, etc., will expand social contribution jobs paying a small amount of activity allowance and public interest jobs for senior citizens. 


【Connecting new middle-aged people to career path planning services】
It has been difficult for new middle-aged people to prepare for "triple cropping in life" in advance.


MOEL will expand lifelong career planning services to ensure that everyone can have at least three career planning opportunities throughout their lives. 


MOHW will activate education and counseling services in the four major areas of preparation for old age (financial affairs, health, leisure, interpersonal relations, etc.) through the local later-life preparation support centers.


The link between related online and offline services will be further strengthened mainly through employment-welfare plus centers and the National Job Portal (due to be completed by the end of 2019).


Vice Minister of Employment and Labor Yi Sung-ki said, "Weighed down with the double burden of supporting parents and caring for children, the new middle-aged are not properly prepared for old age."


He went on to say, "By enabling new middle-aged people to manage successful 'double- or triple-cropping in life' based on the expertise and knowhow they have built up so far, the measures are expected to contribute to national competitiveness and productivity growth in the face of a demographic cliff and thus to enhance the vitality of the country as a whole."

Last Modifide Date   :   Fri September 8, 2017
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