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Current Status of Industrial Technology Workforce in Regions and Direction of its Policy Response

Author Kim Young- Soo Date 2014.04.10 Issue No 585

The ratio of industrial technology workforce in the non-metropolitan areas has been steadily on the decline, having fallen from 41.9% in 2000 to 33. 6% in 2012.


Between 2008 and 2012, the number of highly skilled industrial workforce who is the industrial technology workforce in a narrow sense, has grown by 13 thousands, among which, 92.4 % was concentrated on the metropolitan area while merely 7.6 % was on the non-metropolitan areas.    


In contrast, the number of industrial technician who is lowly skilled workforce, has substantially gone up in the non-metropolitan areas, which implies there exist excessive concentrations of highly and lowly skilled workforces on certain regions.


Likewise, the number of industrial technology workforce in the non-metropolitan regions has been on the decrease in overall mainly because of the concentration of R&D workforce on the metropolitan area resulting from the establishment of a large scale of research complexes within the area, the reduction in the public R&D investment in local regions and the weak capability of local university to cooperate with industry.    


The industrial technology workforce decline and outflow raises not just the concerns that the ecosystem of industrial technology innovation would be  shrunk substantially, but also the possibility that the non-metropolitan areas which account for a significant part on the industrial production and employment of Korea, would be reduced to the bases merely for production facilities.


In order to pursue a sustainable industrial development and pull Korean economy out of a low growth trend, it is important to build up and maintain the industrial innovation system equipped with competitiveness mainly within the major production bases and pivotal urban areas, and to this end, it is crucial to actively support the excellent industrial technology workforce to be increased and settled in local regions.