Towards Better Social and Employment Security in Korea

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This report on Korea is the fourth country study published in a series of reports looking into how policies connect people with jobs, following reports on Australia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. It has a special focus on low-income groups, jobseekers and workers, and policies geared towards closing the considerable gaps these groups are facing around income and employment support. In the past forty years, Korea has gone through a remarkable economic transformation and in the past two decades, the country has also put in place a comprehensive social protection system and a strong activation framework. Nevertheless, features of Korea’s labour market, which include very low job tenure, a high degree of duality and a high level of informality, make it difficult for some measures to reach workers and jobseekers. This report concludes that significant additional action will be needed to make income and employment supports more effective and inclusive.






Giving people better opportunities to participate in the labour market improves well‑being and strengthens economic growth. Better labour market and social protection policies help countries to cope with rapid population ageing by mobilising potential labour resources more fully. Many OECD countries achieved record employment levels prior to the global financial crisis, but in all countries employment rates differ markedly across population groups. High unemployment, weak labour market attachment of some groups in society, and frequently unstable, poor‑quality employment reflects a range of barriers to working or moving up the jobs ladder. In many countries the crisis has accentuated long‑standing structural problems that are causing these disadvantages. It is a major challenge for policy makers in the coming years to address these problems and make OECD labour markets and, thus, OECD economies more inclusive.


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