Jobs

Employment possibilities in South Korea

As a newly industrializing economy, South Korea offers many opportunities for employment for foreigners; anywhere from teaching English, to international project managers, to placement in high-tech industries.

South Korea experienced a financially devastating crisis in 1997. However, its economy has been steadily progressing ever since and continues to grow today.

Following the Asian Financial Crisis of ´97, many Westerners fled the area and took with them the important resource of language. Due to the shortage, English-speaking foreigners are highly sought after in every occupational field. Whether you speak English or not, it is to your advantage to have a high school diploma and a college degree in order to heighten your marketability.

Typical industries and sectors

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced and digitally linked countries in the world. As a leading exporter of automobiles, cell phones, and other high-tech devices and a growing competitor in information technology, specialists in these fields are needed in Korea.

Seoul, the capital and largest city in Korea, is the center of everything from economy and politics to culture and international business. Some of the world’s largest companies are headquartered in Seoul and its surrounding area.

Aside from its agricultural aspect, most of South Korea’s economic activity takes place in the capital city. It is also easier to find jobs as an English tutor/teacher in big cities like Seoul where the pay tends to go up in proportion to the cost of living. For those looking for work outside of Seoul, other metropolitan cities in South Korea include Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon, and Ulsan.

Employment trends

Due to the high demand of native English speakers in South Korea, expatriates can easily find jobs tutoring and teaching English. Translators for any industry are also sought after. Most foreigners who choose to teach English in Korea end up working at "hakwons" (private foreign language institutes).

Other popular places to utilize your language skills include:

  • university language institutes
  • corporate in-house language exchange programs
  • private tutoring courses
  • editing/public relations at an advertising company
  • government/private research institutes

Current employment trends show a favorable lean towards certain jobs in:

Finance:

  • fund managers
  • foreign exchange dealers
  • insurance brokers
  • insurance specialists
  • securities analysts
  • stockbrokers

Information technology:

  • database administrators
  • information system analysts
  • Internet consultants
  • IT system consultants
  • network specialists
  • programmers
  • web designers
  • web masters

International business:

  • foreign market researchers
  • international project managers
  • international outsourcing specialists
  • copyright specialists
  • database specialists
  • marketers
  • merchandisers
  • microelectronics specialists
  • robotic specialists

and especially in marketing:

  • direct marketing system designers
  • IR specialists

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here:

Other comments

  • Christian, 06 January 2011 Reply

    Leads?

    That's great news to read, but how does an expat begin searching for an editing position with a government or advertising office? Are there any useful links to follow up on this claim?

    • D. Darko 14 Nov 2011, 09:10

      Really?

      This article is misleading. Foreign ex-pats are highly unlikely to get any non-teaching/editing jobs in Korea. If they do, it most likely because they came to work in Korea via their company.

    • Roko 05 Jan 2012, 12:08

      Work in Korea

      D Darko,your name and surname sounds Croatian like,which is typical of foreigners ,and Balcans too to give a bad reputation to Asia or Korea.I am white guy myself from Croatia,and i know your story.Post it elsewhere.