While an increasing number of middle-aged and older people learn new skills, the number of younger people who do so is declining. According to figures from the Human Resources Development Service of Korea on Sunday, 26,310 people in their 50s earned public certificates mostly in the area of technical skills last year, up 73 percent from 2007. The number of candidates in their 60s more than doubled from 1,369 in 2007 to 3,103 in 2011.
On the other hand, the number of those in their 20s dropped 39 percent from 355,857 in 2007 to 218,424 in 2011, and that of people in their 30s from 142,285 to 104,275.
The HRDS said many so-called baby-boomers want to learn new skills as they reach retirement, but younger people are less keen because they are no longer very helpful for them in landing a job including government jobs.
An HRDS spokesman said, "Certificates don't help jobseekers much due to fierce competition in the job market."
There are 556 certificates administered by seven bodies including the HRDS, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, and Korean Film Council.