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Life & Info: 'Gig economy' speeds up in S. Korea Updated: 2019-04-26 07:01:43 KST

Time now for our "Life & Info" segment, where we focus on information useful for your everyday life.
Today we are going to talk about the 'gig economy' in South Koreaand how we can all get involved to make a little extra cash.
Our Ko Roon-hee is in the studio with us for more.
Roon-hee, start off by telling what the 'gig economy' is.

Yes Mark.
'Gig economy' generally refers to a labor market where temporary positions are commonas opposed to permanent jobs.
So it's different from traditional economywhere many full-time workers want careers that spread across their whole working life.
An American management consulting firm provided a more precise definition.
McKinsey & Company defined the 'gig economy' as a contingent work that is transacted on a digital marketplace.
This excludes ongoing part-time employment and freelance work that is not contracted on an online talent platform.
By digital marketplace, it includes mobile applications like Uber.
So, if you have worked as a driver in a ride-sharing service or as a host in Airbnb, you are part of the gig economy.

Ok, now we have a clearer sense of what it isbut how does it apply here in South Korea?
Most of us have heard of Uber and Airbnb, but can you give us some local examples?

Sure. there are many digital marketplaces that offer the 'gig economy experience.'
Today I want to introduce some popular ones in Korea where people can share their talents.

First is an activity platform service called 'Frip'.
If you sign into the 'Frip' application, you can meet diverse so-called 'hosts' providing lessons.
I actually use this app quite often, and it varies from sports, culture, travel, cooking and more.
So for instance, if you are a talented photographer, you can advertise yourself and your careerand people can pay and sign up for some classes or tips from you.
I actually met someone who is a popular host on the Frip platform.
He holds wine classes after workby using his experience in the field.
Let's take a look.

Lee Do-kyung works in the finance industryand after he gets off work, he holds wine classes.
His classes deal with the history and basics of wineand of course, tasting it with delicious food.
Lee uses the 'Frip' application to advertise his classes.
When I visited his class, about 15 students were there on a weekday at around 7:30 P.M., when most Korean workers get off work.
He told me why he's been doing this for a while.

"When I come here, I feel recharged and relaxed because the attendees pay attention to my classes. I learned about wine in France, and I want to inform people who have an interest in wine."

That class looks very interesting, indeed. I'm more of a white wine drinker myself, especially Chardonnay.
So besides wine, I hear 'fashion' is another popular lesson not that surprising in such a fashion-mad country

Yes, you are right.
Another example of people 'selling' their talent is in the fashion field.
I met someone as welland experienced the program myself.

Jang Kyoung-hee is a fashion director.
After work, she provides fashion advice to people in need of a new styleand uses a similar application to advertise her program.
Before we met, I had to send her 4 photos of me in my usual outfit.
And when we met, we discussed about my current style and how I can change it.
The real fun started when we went to the mall together.
She recommended me various sets of outfit.
The lesson usually takes 2 hours.
Jang says she's happy to share her experience with others.

"Because I am a designer with a lot of experience, I am sharing my know-how with others. I think having confidence in one's clothes is extremely important in being confident about oneself."

Some snappy clothes there. Look forward to seeing you wear that outfit next time you are in the studio.
So, we've established that the users love these services, but some big local companies are also moving into the space

Korean e-commerce platform Coupang did something related to the gig economy last yearby creating jobs in the delivery sector.
Basically, people can sign up to make deliveries and earn some extra money in their free time.
Coupang saidthey started this to flexibly deal with unexpected demands about four-thousand people participate on average per day.
I talked to an employee about the matter.

"Housewives who have experienced career breaks and retirees can start a new job here. It's the same for people who are free for a short period of time."

Ok, now that we have heard from both sides of the story
It seems like the "gig economy" is here to stay. Are the projections showing this industry will keep growing fast and will this shift in the way we work have any drawbacks?

According to McKinsey & Company, the future is bright for the gig economy.
It provided specific forecast in terms of GDP and number of jobs.
Online talent platforms, including websites like LinkedIn & digital marketplace for services like Uber, have potential to increase global GDP by US$ 2.7 trillion by 2025.
And Up to 540 mil. individuals could benefit from online talent platforms by 2025.
However, some analysts pointed out there are things to look out for.

"In the gig economy, workers in these platforms lack some conditions, including social insurance, like employment insurance. There are concerns over labor safety."

Well, I suppose you have to take the rough with the smooth, but the days of having a "job for life" are no more that's for sure. Roon-hee, thanks for your report.

Thanks for having me.
Reporter : krh@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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