Personnel Management Policies

of the Korean Government

14 March, 2022

By TB M Masiur RAHMAN, 2021 GMPA Student(SDGs)

Civil Service of Korea: State of the Art for Quality and Ethics

The Last Presentation, "Personnel Management Policies of Korean Government", was delivered by Mr. Woo Ho Kim, Minister of Personnel Management in the framework of the Global Masters of Public Administration (GMPA) Special Lecture Series with the Leaders of the Korean Public Organizations.

The lecture focused on government personnel management scenario with five main aspects: 1) Recruitment Process of Korean Public Officers, 2) Salary Structures, 3) Generalized vs Experts Professional, 4) Human Resource Development (Training), and 5) Ethics in the civil services. Mr. Honourable Minister tried to explain the above all as well as gave some thought of new challenges of Korean Civil Services. Korean Civil Service is still most prestigious and challenging job for Korean young generations. Mr. Minister gave us some basic key points regarding the overall personnel management.

1) Recruitment: As per the Lecture, Korean Civil Service Recruitment system is a centralized system based on Diversity, Openness, Expertise and Fairness. The basic principles are to asses talent in a fair manner and assign such talent to the right place in the right time. While civil service recruitment is a merit-based process, it values efficiency as well as diversity, expertise and openness of government posts. He mentioned that Korea has two types of recruitment methods. One is open competitive recruitment exams for Grades 5 & 7 and Grades 9 and the other is competitiveness recruitment exams for experienced professionals and experts in specific field of service.

2) Salary Structures: Mr. Minister explained very interestingly that the salary of public officers increases based on seniority i.e. based on experience. So, duration of service length is the key factor for the salary system. Since Korean Government emphasis on Performance management system, but it does not reflect on their existing salary systems.

3) Generalized Vs Experts Professional: According to the Lecture, I know that Korean Civil service mainly generalized based and they are transfer within the Ministry in every 2/3 years. Sometimes it creates long debate regarding generalized vs Experts. Mr. Minister explained it very good way that Junior management has specific job, but senior management needs a vast knowledge about the other consequence. So, it is very effective system for the Korean government and run very well.

4) Human Resource Development (Training): Mr. Minister discussed the training system of civil services. Training for the development of government officials is one of the major tool and after recruitment every officer enhances their knowledge through training and becomes an experienced & future-oriented person. Government trying to provide specific training based on individual needs. e-SARAM (Electronic Human Resource Management System) is a very good initiative for developing the future leaders from civil services.

5) Ethics of Civil Service: Mr. Minister explained very well regarding ethics in the civil services. Building a trusted and clean government based on transparent Civil Service Ethics is the main principle of the Civil Service of Korea. In this process, all Grade 4 officers must register their assets and provide the information to the Government. I believe it is very important for a civil servant to show the transparency and developing countries can follow it.

6) New Challenges: Mr. Minister discussed some key challenges for the Personnel Management. He said that the world environment is changing and Korean Government policy also be changing. Already Korea is going for Performance based Management systems and to build the more citizen centric Government systems in innovative way. Government also focuses on Public Private Partnership to make a knowledge based civil service. The rise of the MZ generation & demands for changes in the time with generation are very important issue to revisit the recruitment and performance systems. Government already take some initiative on Expansion of performance-based salary systems and Expanding the recruitment of civil service professionals.

7) Q&A Session: The Q&A session after the lecture was very captivating. 5 participants got the chance for asking question and Mr. Minister handle it very efficiently. I think it was the most lively session of the special lecture.

8) Discussant & Chair: In the special Lecture, Professor Junki Kim presided the chair and Professor Kilkon Ko was a discussant. Actually whole lecture was in Korean and translated it in English by a interpreter, but Professors gave us good explanation about the topics. It was very fruitful for us.

9) Compare to My country (Bangladesh): Recruitment Systems of Bangladesh are more or less same as like Korea. Bangladesh also follows the centralized and open exam for all and it is also generalized. Salary improvement also based on seniority (experienced based) like Korea. But we still fighting against corruption. For a transparent civil service, we need to emphasis more regarding ethics. On the other hand, for making a good future leader from the civil service, we need to introduce e-HRM and performance Management systems.

Overall Comments: Public Officials play an important role for development through policy implementation. For this reason, this lecture was very effective for us as Public Officials. Besides this, I am working in Ministry of Public Administration and it was very important lesson learnt for me from a development perspective.

I sincerely expressed my gratitude to Honourable Minister for taking out time from his busy schedule to provide us with such valuable information. The lecture earned a huge positive response in my life. This lecture was very informative and helped me gain more insights about the Korean Personnel Management System. I would also like to thank the GMPA Authorities for their tireless efforts to provide enough and fruitful information to GMPA scholars for becoming a better future leaders in their own country.