By Jung Joo-ri and Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in on Jan. 10 announced the policy direction of his administration on employment, labor issues and regulatory innovation in a Q&A session that was part of his New Year’s news conference at Cheong Wa Dae.
Reflecting on his first 20 months in office, the chief executive said the lackluster employment index was the biggest regret of his term, saying, "How to solve the issue is the most pressing task of my administration."
He said the chronically poor performance of manufacturing resulted in the sluggish employment market.
Proposing innovation as the key to solving the issue, he said, "Innovation in the manufacturing sector such as applying smart technologies will heighten the industry’s competitiveness."
President Moon added that the government will strive to support venture startups and entrepreneurs to produce new growth momentum.
On labor policy, he said, "Improving the lives of employees is crucial for reducing and removing economic inequality."
"My administration has put a lot of effort toward raising employee wages, shortening work hours and transforming irregular workers into regular ones."
Switching to regulatory innovation, President Moon urged all sides to have an open heart.
"In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many changes are taking place in the economy and society but it seems some people are sticking to outdated values," he said.
"I hope all of us can have a more open heart to meet the changes of the times and show a more flexible mindset to have conversations with others."
President Moon also announced more government support to foster startups, suggesting that junior and senior workers work together to take advantage of new ideas from younger staff and the experience of veteran employees simultaneously.