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Over 40% of retired athletes in South Korea jobless as of 2019: lawmaker

Rep. Kim Yea-ji of the People Power Party (Yonhap)
Rep. Kim Yea-ji of the People Power Party (Yonhap)
More than 40 percent of retired athletes in South Korea remained jobless as of last year, a lawmaker said Tuesday, calling for state help for them to build "a second life."

As of 2019, 41.9 percent of the 8,251 retired athletes surveyed by the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee remained unemployed, Rep. Kim Yea-ji of the main opposition People Power Party said, citing data by the committee.

Of those employed, only 29.8 percent answered they had jobs related to sports, such as referees, instructors and teachers. The remaining 28.2 percent were working in areas unrelated to sports, as office workers or self-employed businesspersons.

The survey also showed 55.7 percent of those who had jobs were employed on temporary contracts, while some 47 percent earned less than 2 million won ($1,739) per month.

Nearly five percent of those employed said they take home less than 1 million won every month.

The survey also showed that the average retirement age of athletes in South Korea stood at 23 as of 2019, far below the average retirement age of 49.5 among workers outside of the sports field.

"Athletes, who retire at ages young enough to be economically active, need support to (come back) as a member of society and start a second life," the lawmaker said. (Yonhap)
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