Finding a job in South Korea during the pandemic

Hi everyone,

Looking for a job in South Korea is not something you can take lightly, especially now. If you found a new job in South Korea during the pandemic or if you are currently searching for one, we would like to know how it went.

How did you go about it? Which job board do you recommend? Did you use a headhunter?
In which sector did you find a job?

Did you train in order to find a new position? If so, which training course(s) did you follow and why?

What about your package? How does it compare with your previous jobs and are you satisfied with it?

What are the most important elements to prioritise or negotiate in a package for a job in South Korea in 2021?

Thanks for your contribution!

Diksha,
Expat.com team

Expats in Korea generally fall into these types....

1. Workers from Asia (the vast majority of all foreigners in Korea who are not Chinese Korean) doing manual jobs. Don't scoff semi skilled labour with lots of overtime can pull in 4.5 million a month. For the young and fit, hard work for 3 years and be set up for life. Also many are in hotels and tourism (well before the pandemic). Agencies hire these via home countries and they target places like Indonesia and Phillipines. Not westerners. There are of course women employed in "service jobs" in message parlours that are illegal. Mainly Thai and Phillipinos. Young women need to be careful of recruiters in their home countries due to this.

2. Military. US Military and civilians support sent to Korea.

3. Married to Korean, speak Korean and on spouse visas that allow work. They seem to be in business (restaurants), own Hagwons, teach at units to IT. All sorts. Many were E2 English teachers. Jobs via word of month and contacts.

4. E2 English teachers. Earning 2.5 million or less plus accommodation (better standard than what Asian expats get), they generally stay a year or two, are in early 20s and are not that numerous but far more visible as they go out partying more on Seoul and are on social media the most. Jobs are via TEFL recruiters

5. IT, engineering, scienctific and Finance workers, usually sent by MNCs, but you do see job adverts with specialist agents that deal with foreigners. Pay depends, below 5 million is a bad salary (plus accom) to a good salary above 10 million a month (after tax).

6. Teachers at international schools, pay 5-10 million a month (after tax) depending on experience and reponsibility.  Jobs are advertised on specialist teacher sites like TES or agents such as Search Associates.

I am an international school teacher. Salary is ok, 7 million  a month plus accommodation plus annual flights plus private medical cover and free school places for kids. All are essential for any expat job. Never take a job without these basic perks.

Korean law is very specific about visas eg E2 visas must be from one of specified 7 countries and have been educated in English.  E7 (as I am on) must have a relavant degree and experience (some highly skilled workers don't need a degree for E7). It is all laid out by job type and no variations allowed.

Under no circumstances ever come in on a tourist visa looking for work. It is illegal and you can't get a job without going home first anyway. There is a job seeing visa for under 30s from certain countries. But again this is very restrictive- you have a year and bye bye. Staying isn't allowed and no variations allowed.

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