a unified strategy to prepare the workforce of the future.
- Making it a Priority. Not only are corporate, academic and government leaders focused on this, the citizenry is as well. Unlike the U.S., the topics and outcomes of this conference were highly publicized in their local newspapers and media. They are serious about these issues and determined to understand and prepare. They understand the impact of technology such as artificial intelligence on future employment as well as other factors and are seeking operative solutions.
- A Unified Approach. Also unlike the U.S., South Korea is not segmented in their approach to global concerns. Where the West has great focus and thought leadership in the corporate learning landscape as well as K-12 and higher ed, with few exceptions we are relatively siloed and government is practically absent from the discussion. South Koreans are very like-minded, so given the focus and excellent thought leadership I saw at this conference, swift and effective execution is the expected outcome.
- Small and Nimble. Related, South Korea is a small country with passionate, dedicated people. Korean people are known for their intelligence and work ethic. Once they determine the path forward they will be much better equipped to make the needed changes and make them quickly.
There are substantial changes to be made for sure. Significant government regulations dictate what is taught in formal educational institutions and how, and even within corporate learning to some extent. These obsolete restrictions must be lifted or radically changed to be able to successfully execute a strategy for their future. Korea has one of the highest average work weeks and overtime hours in the world. It seems that hours worked trump employee engagement and satisfaction, to the extent that professional development is not often offered within companies. The good news is that they recognize these things are hindrances and for that reason are placing significant emphasis on change in order to prepare the workforce of the future.
We can and should learn from South Korea’s holistic approach to the future of education, employment and workplace learning, just as they are learning from us regarding current and future educational trends and technologies. I look forward to seeing how the wonderful people of South Korea shift their approach and provide an excellent example to the rest of us.