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President's Welcome

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"Welcome to the Korea Labor Institute’s website."

Living in a global society, we are undergoing changes brought about by a large set of trends such as globalization, digitalization, and the climate and environmental crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic which hit the world severely in 2020, had a huge impact on these trends as well. In terms of globalization, some adjustments were made by diversifying production bases in order to respond to unprecedented risks. The rapid increase in non-face-to-face economic activities is increasingly accelerating digitalization. Humankind’s response to the climate and environmental crisis is expected to lead to rapid and significant policy shifts.

Globalization, digitalization and the transition towards green policies have already largely affected the world of work. At the International Labour Conference held in 2019 to mark the 100th anniversary of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the ILO adopted the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, highlighting the challenges and opportunities offered by digital transformation and platform work. The increase in non-face-to-face economic activities and remote work as a result of COVID-19 will pose new challenges in the field of labor and social policies where the Korea Labor Institute (KLI) is conducting research.

Korea has been deemed one of the most successful countries in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic response through K-Quarantine. In addition, Korea aims to transition from a following country to a leading country through the Korean New Deal. In order for the Korean New Deal to create decent jobs and to ensure that no one is left behind in the process of transition, investments should be made on human resources. Furthermore, a strong safety net is vital to improve the quality of life for people. Starting in January 2021, the Korean unemployment assistance (the National Employment Support Program) was implemented. And from July 2021, employment insurance will be expanded to cover dependent contractors. The KLI will continue its research on specific policy measures to support investments on human resources and to materialize the income-based employment insurance covering all workers including the self-employed.

In order to successfully overcome the challenges facing our society, we need to make joint efforts on the basis of consensus and agreement among social actors. In particular, the challenge of addressing the persistent gaps in the labor market will become more difficult to resolve if these challenges are further procrastinated. Since the establishment of the institution in 1988, when there was a sudden increase in labor movements, the KLI has served as a public forum for social discourse and collecting intelligence on major labor related agendas for the tripartite constituents. Following this tradition, the KLI will continue to come up with solutions to current labor issues and lead productive discussions.

Bearing in mind that the owners of the KLI are the people of Korea, I pledge to always remember our role as a public research institute (from the mission statement of the KLI). Thank you.

Deok Soon Hwang DeokSoon Hwang
President, Korea Labor Institute