South Korean’s fever for public service jobs and exam ronins: from a NHRD management framework

Namhee Kim, Sunyoung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe South Korea’s unique fever for public service jobs (FPSJ) and to critique it from a National Human Resource Development (NHRD) management framework. Design/methodology/approach: This paper reviewed previous studies, news and technical reports related to FPSJ and NHRD to connect FPSJ and NHRD. Findings: This study analyzed FPSJ-related issues based on three areas (development, allocation and utilization) of human resources and four contexts (political, economic, social and educational backgrounds). FPSJ has led to multiple concerns about developing human resources (vocational education and career guidance), allocating human resources (the unbalanced supply-demand mismatch and flawed selection) and using human resources (delayed job entry and low public service ethos). Originality/value: This study analyzes the challenges related to FPSJ in Korea from a NHRD perspective. Based on the analysis, this study recommends strategies for reducing the over-emphasis on FPSJ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-795
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - 21 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Civil service exam
  • Exam ronins
  • Fever for public service jobs
  • Korean labor market
  • National human resource development (NHRD)
  • South Korea


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