For expatriate candidates, the Hallyu Wave and South Korea’s economic status made the nation attractive. In fact, this happened on a global and Asian scale. In Seoul, the capital city of Korea, the number of foreigners searching for a job is certainly growing. That being said, many people from all parts of the world are keen on finding out about jobs in Korea for foreigners.
A perfect way to learn and immerse yourself in the local culture is to work abroad. And when it comes to working in Korea, this is not an exception. For expats, South Korea is becoming a hotspot. In education, tourism, technology and entrepreneurship, there are tons of work opportunities for foreigners. Moreover, Korean people are a friendly bunch. As a matter of fact, thousands of expats agree that the best place to live and work is South Korea.
However, there are some facts about working in Korea that you need to know before you decide to move permanently. Below, here is a list of frequently asked questions about jobs in Korea for foreigners. By reading it, you will get a lot of new insights that will be useful for your careers.
Table of Contents
- List of FAQs About Jobs in Korea for Foreigners
- Can a foreigner become a Korean citizen?
- Can a foreigner get a job in South Korea?
- Can I work in Korea without speaking Korean?
- Do foreigners get paid less in Korea?
- Is it easy to get a job in Korea?
- What is considered a good job in Korea?
- What is a good salary in Seoul?
- What is the most common job in South Korea?
- What jobs are in demand in South Korea?
List of FAQs About Jobs in Korea for Foreigners
Can a foreigner become a Korean citizen?
Yes, you can.
There are 3 basic guidelines the government looks at to establish whether Korea wants you to join its citizenry:
- An Understanding and Appreciation of the Korean Language and Culture
- Financial Stability
- Long-term, Consecutive Korean Residency
People may ignore these criteria in some of the “Specialized Naturalization” situations. Nevertheless, it would be desirable to reach or surpass them regardless. Now, it might be time to start investigating whether or not you, too, can become a Korean citizen if you meet these requirements. As a matter of fact, it is now entirely possible for a foreigner to become a Korean citizen. In particular, this is achievable even without a Korean partner, unlike 20 years ago. Expect it to take up to 2 years to process. However, you can do it too if you love Korea and want to spend the rest of your life here.
Can a foreigner get a job in South Korea?
Yes, of course. While it may not be as easy as obtaining the highest paying jobs in the Philippines, it is an opportunity worth trying. In fact, you will find a wide variety of jobs in Korea for foreigners. By starting to find out exactly what kind of business sector you are looking for, you can find the most suitable job even in Korea.
Can I work in Korea without speaking Korean?
Yes! Without speaking Korean, you can certainly work and live in South Korea. Of course, if you learn some Korean, it’ll be easier for you, but you don’t have to. If you don’t speak Korean, you’re going to have to rely on friends or colleagues who do that often, at least. However, Korean fluency is not a major requirement for most jobs in Korea for foreigners. Yet, it doesn’t hurt for you to learn a little about Korean before you fly there.
Do foreigners get paid less in Korea?
Sadly, yes, this is something unfortunate that continues to happen in Korea. Among OECD member countries, South Korea has the biggest wage difference between native and foreign-born workers. However, the wage difference between locals and foreigners is merely the product of the Korean labor market’s unique structure. Thus, it should not constitute an assumption of discrimination against migrant workers in Korea.
Is it easy to get a job in Korea?
If you are looking for an English teaching job, it is pretty easy. Hence, all you need is a bachelor’s degree. On top of that, you don’t really need a TESOL qualification, but getting one wouldn’t hurt. Ultimately, it would marginally increase your pay package. If you are searching for some work outside of teaching English, it will be harder to get a job. Yet, this will remain untrue unless you have outstanding credentials. In order to get it, you have to be able to show you are more qualified than a Korean citizen to do the job. Regardless, it’s all specialization that comes to play.
What is considered a good job in Korea?
A good job in Korea makes up of three different categories:
- Jobs that are stable, like civil engineers and government jobs,
- Jobs that pay well, like big tech company employees, or
- Jobs in Korea for foreigners with high social prestige, like lawyer, prosecutor, doctor.
Many people think that most of the Korean population wishes to work for a big company like Samsung. However, it’s important to learn how this phenomenon happens. Koreans grow up hearing from their parents that to get into the top universities they need to study hard. For that reason, they can get the highest paying jobs in the world. In a way, because they get paid the most, Samsung is the most coveted business for many, and the social recognition that comes with the job is a big bonus.
At the same time, Samsung is known for its highly competitive work climate. Hence, it’s unsurprising most older workers are leaving the business against their will. Unfortunately, this has to happen unless they continue to better themselves. Sure, employees sometimes make a lot of money often. But because of the ridiculous workload, they won’t have time to use the money. In almost all of the major corporations in Korea, the same problem persists. In recent decades, people started to respect the balance between work and personal life more.
Because of the money, Samsung might be the best company to work for. Yet, note that not a lot of them would want to work because they really enjoy working there.
What is a good salary in Seoul?
By Korean standards, 4.8 million won ($4,400) is quite a good salary. Yet, it depends on the way you live. It can get expensive if you stick to foreign goods (and a lot of imports). Nevertheless, if you live and eat like a local, it’s enough to comfortably help two people comfortably. Ultimately, you can live well, take a short break, and put money away in savings. But it really depends, again, on the lifestyle. If you spend time finding the right accommodation and don’t just settle for the first place you see, for less than 800,000 ($730) per month, you will find a “villa” with two bedrooms in Seoul.
Besides, it depends on whether your company separately provide accommodations, and also what part of Seoul you will be based in. In fact, it can be super costly the more upscale the places. However, public transportation is super convenient. For instance, you can live somewhere inexpensive and commute half an hour by subway to work. Bear in mind, however, that as you learn about finding where to buy things affordably and finding the right area of Seoul to live in, the first six months to a year maybe a little more expensive.
What is the most common job in South Korea?
In South Korea, public sector work is a job that is common among ordinary people. In Korea, public sector work means government-subsidized work. There are many other popular job careers available, apart from military and government employees, as there are many opportunities for English speakers in sales and particularly in the teaching sector (in universities and schools).
What jobs are in demand in South Korea?
Currently, these are jobs in Korea for foreigners that are in high demand.
- Securities Analysts (3,000,000 – 7,700,000 won/month)
- Sales and Marketing (1,500,000 – 4,200,000 won/month)
- Public Relations (2,000,000 – 5,000,000 won/month)
- Project Manager (4,000,000 – 5,600,000 won/month)
- Programmers and Developers (1,500,000 – 4,200,000 won/month)
- English Teacher (1,860,000 – 3,000,000 won/month)
- Editor/Content Writer (2,000,000 – 5,500,000 won/month)
It may be the same in Korea or in other parts of the world. As a matter of fact, getting a job that suits you is not as easy as blinking eyes. However, that does not mean that you have fewer opportunities to get one of the jobs in Korea for foreigners. Ultimately, it will be easy as long as you know what to prepare in advance. By doing so, you can fulfill your aspiration to work abroad as soon as possible. Good luck!