OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society
[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.99-127
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date Jan 2017
Received 05 Sep 2016 Revised 09 Dec 2016 Accepted 05 Jan 2017

Employment Gap between Immigrant and Native Women in South Korea: Discrimination in the Labor Market Pre-entry Stage

Kyung-Eun Yang
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto


Using an extended version of the Oaxaca decomposition method, this study’s objective is to systematically examine the magnitude of discrimination within the South Korean labor market by focusing on the different employment opportunities available to immigrant and native women. Specific focus is accorded to what occurs to immigrant women in their labor market pre-entry stage. Data from Korea’s National Survey of Multicultural Families (NSMF) and the Korean Labor & Income Panel Study (KLIPS), both conducted in 2009, have been used. The results show that immigrant women experience considerable barriers prior to entering the Korean labor market. Moreover, the Oaxaca decomposition result suggests that when all individual factors were controlled for, a significant proportion of the employment gap remained unexplained. Such a result suggests that there is a systemic discrimination that extends beyond the individual’s scope.


female marriage migrants, discrimination, employment gap, labor market, South Korea


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Biographical Note

Kyung-Eun Yang received her Ph.D. from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. She is currently a research fellow at the Centre for Global Social Policy, University of Toronto. She has published on the causes and consequences of social and economic inequalities associated with race/ethnicity and gender issues as well as effective approaches to reducing them. E-mail: