The average age of the population of OECD countries is increasing fast, and the average age of the labour force is also increasing. In such a context, giving older people better work choices and incentives and access to good jobs is crucial for promoting economic growth and improving the sustainability of public social expenditures. Older people offer tremendous potential value to businesses and the economy but public policies and private workplace practices continue to pose barriers to work or fail to provide good work.

To respond to the continued disadvantage older people are facing in the labour market, the OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee decided to carry out a new series of policy reviews on Working Better with Age to encourage greater labour market participation at an older age, through the fostering of employability, job mobility and labour demand. It builds upon earlier work of the OECD on Ageing and Employment Policies, summarised in Live Longer, Work Longer, published in 2006.

This report on Korea is one in a series of country case studies on this matter. It points to areas where changes are needed to improve employment opportunities, working conditions and work incentives at an older age, including measures to adapt wage-setting practices, tackle age discrimination, improve job skills of older people and their working conditions, and better activate older job seekers. It also reviews Korea’s policies against the Recommendation of the Council on Ageing and Employment Policies which was formally endorsed by ministers of employment from all OECD countries in January 2016 (see

This review was carried out by OECD’s Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. This report on Korea was prepared by Anne Saint-Martin, Veerle Miranda, Christopher Prinz (project leader), Marko Stermsek, Hyeongso Ha and Anne Sonnet. Dana Blumin provided the statistical work and Monica Meza-Essid provided technical assistance. The report also includes comments to an earlier version from Mark Keese and from a number of Korean ministries and authorities.

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