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Enhancing Korea’s Work Competency: Focusing on Problem-solving Skills


KDI Brief No.97 (July 04, 2017)

Enhancing Korea’s Work Competency: Focusing on Problem-solving Skills

Implications of the Rapid Increase in Pre-sale Apartments
Yong-Seong Kim
Fellow, Department of Human Resource Development Policy, KDI

This study attempts to explore the use of and underlying issues related to problem-solving skills, a vital competency in future jobs, and policy measures for improvement.
An international comparison shows that Korean workers (aged 16-65) are fairly good at utilizing their skills but poor at applying those skills to solve problems at work.
   · As problem solving is a key future competency, it is essential that the relevant skills are enhanced and actively utilized.
   · However, insufficient education and training opportunities, poor communication and cooperation at work and a dual labor market structure could become obstacles.
To enhance the use of problem-solving skills at work, concerted efforts at various levels are needed, for example changing the contents and methods of educational/training programs and establishing a skill-friendly labor market structure.
   · Educational/training programs need to provide more field experiences and professional knowledge as well as soft skills including collaboration, compromise and communication .
   · Instead of a ‘flexible adjustment of the workforce’ through easy hiring and firing, labor reforms should be implemented though a ‘flexible adjustment of working conditions’ (i.e. wages and working hours) so that both employer and employee can accumulate and fully utilize the necessary skills in problem solving in a stable employment relationship.
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