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Senior Civil Service Candidates

Senior Civil Service Candidates

Significance and Rationale behind Introduction

The Senior Civil Service (SCS) System was implemented on July 1, 2006 to enhance the competitiveness of the government by efficiently managing the SCS at the pan-government level. In addition, competency development and assessment became mandatory, so that only those with basic competencies as senior civil servants can join the SCS.


Competency Model was designed to present government standard competencies (19)
Job analysis was conducted for positions at the director general level or higher at 52 central administrative agencies
The Competency Assessment System was established
The SCS system and competency assessment were implemented (Jul. 2006)
Nine competencies, six simulation exercises and seven evaluators
The SCS competency assessment system was revised
Six competencies, four simulation exercises and seven evaluators
The number of evaluators of SCS competency assessment was increased (7 → 9 persons)

The Ministry of Personnel Management established a competency assessment system after years of preparations, including designing a competency model for the government standard competencies and conducting job analysis for positions at the director general level or higher. In July 2006, the competency assessment was conducted for the first time simultaneously with the implementation of the SCS system. Since the revision of the competency model in 2009 and the increase in the number of evaluators in 2010, the assessment system of “six competencies, four exercises and seven evaluators” has been maintained.

Competency Assessment System

고위공무원단 후보자 역량평가 체계

Subjects of Competency Assessment
In principle, those who wish to be newly recruited as senior civil servants or civil servants of Grade 4 or higher who wish to be promoted or transferred* to a position in the SCS are subject to passing the competency assessment.

Applicable only when a senior researcher/senior technical advisor who is not a senior civil servant is transferred to a position in the SCS. < Relevant Statutory Provisions > 「State Public Officials Act」, 「Regulations on the Personnel Management of the Senior Executive Service」, 「Rules on the Personnel Management of the Senior Executive Service」

Competency Development Program
  • If a civil servant of Grade 4 or higher would like to be promoted to a SCS position, he/she must complete a SCS Candidate Development Program (5-day course, National Human Resources Development Institute (NHI)) before undergoing competency assessment.

    360-degree pre-diagnosis of competency and basic education on competency via e-learning conducted

  • A candidate from the private sector for an open competitive position, etc. does not need to complete the course, but if he/she wants, the candidate may take a short-term training course provided by MPM’s Human Resources Policy Division and NHI's e-learning course, "Understanding SCS Competency and Competency Development"
  • If a candidate does not pass the competency assessment, he/she may select and complete a Competency Level-up course (NHI) to compensate for the lack of competency.
Competencies Subject to Assessment
  • Competencies refer to the differentiated behavioral characteristics and attitudes of a high achiever who shows outstanding job performance in connection with the achievement of organizational goals.
  • There are a total of six competencies verified through the SCS competency assessment -- problem recognition, strategic thinking, performance orientation, change management, customer satisfaction, and coordination and integration.
    Competencies Definition
    Thinking Competency Problem Recognition Detect and identify problems in a timely manner by understanding and analyzing information and discover the essence of the problem by analyzing diverse aspects of the issue
    Strategic Thinking Set long-term vision and goals and establish action plans by prioritizing the alternatives to deliver such vision and goals
    Working Competency Performance Orientation Consider different approaches to maximize work performance and pursue efficiency and effectiveness in the process of achieving goals
    Change Management Understand the direction and flow of change in the work environment and take measures to ensure that individuals and the organization can respond and adapt to the change appropriately
    Customer Satisfaction Customer Satisfaction Recognize the counterparts at work as customers, understand their needs and make efforts to meet such needs
    Coordination and Integration Understand the interest and conflicts between the stakeholders and suggest reasonable solutions from a balanced perspective
Assessment Methods

In accordance with the Assessment Center Method, competencies are assessed by evaluators directly observing and evaluating the behavior of the subject of evaluation in a simulated job situation; four specific assessment methods are used. In one assessment, nine evaluators participate in assessing six persons.

《Assessment Center Method》
  • Structured Situation: excluding the subjectivity of evaluators by observing and evaluating the behavior based on the actual job situation
  • Diverse Simulation Exercises: overcoming the limits to individual assessment methods, employing complex simulation exercises to assess various competencies
  • Various Evaluators: preventing errors by individual evaluators, ensuring fairness of assessment

Evaluators of Competency Assessment

Evaluators consist of a pool of former and incumbent civil servants, university professors of the academic world concerned and non-governmental experts in the field of human resources; becoming an evaluator requires sufficient experience by observing a several number of actual assessment cases after completing education on evaluation in advance.

Passing Competency Assessment

Each competency is evaluated on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest; the subject passes competency assessment if the average score of the six competencies is graded as ordinary or above (2.50 points or higher).

  • In the case of promotion, those who have failed the competency assessment at previous attempts may undergo re-assessment without a limit on the number of attempts. However, if a civil servant has failed two assessments consecutively, he/she can take a re-assessment after six months from the date of the latest assessment; if a civil servant fails the assessment three times, he/she can take a re-assessment after one year from the latest assessment. Candidates for appointment of open competitive positions and positions in extraordinary civil service may undergo re-assessment only once if requested by their competent ministers.
Feedback on Competency Assessment

Once competency assessment is complete, the subject is informed of the result of the assessment (i.e. pass or fail), the level of competency, strengths and weaknesses in each competency, suggestions for further competency development, etc. Such feedback aims to help the subject identify his/her current competency level and weaknesses and use it as a reference for further development.