South Korea’s coronavirus strategy has helped maintain its economic strength

The Republic of Korea has the best economic growth rate in the OECD and the fastest internet speed in the world. This country has always been strong in manufacturing and technology and has recently been following worldwide trends to better compete across all sectors in the global market.

Skills and development in Korea

Korea currently has the highest demand for developers from tech companies, leading to it becoming the highest-paid job group. With the emergence of new unicorn companies, this demand continues to grow, and the sector has recorded explosive growth.

Since the pandemic started, we have seen greater demand for people who can handle various tasks and technologies, rather than those who have specialised in one area. It is very important for candidates to able to complete tasks outside of their core skill set.

Salaries and benefits in Korea

Candidates in Korea are searching for roles that offer good work-life balance and company growth, rather than focusing solely on salary. Korean working culture is still based on productivity and making the most of our time i.e. waking up early and making use of our evenings. Businesses will need to adapt their way of thinking to attract candidates and retain their talent.

There has been no big change in what employees look for in a company, but a change in what Korean companies are offering. The autonomous culture, high salaries and benefits surpass those offered by foreign companies now. Candidates should think long term about what they need from their employer and weigh their options.

What trends can you expect for roles in South Korea?

Engineering sector

Most engineering roles have seen a sharp rise in average salaries over the past year. With AI expected to find its place in everyday life soon, and experts in all industries already considering its practical use in their processes, the country has seen a boom in demand for engineering candidates in multiple industries.

The most notable growth industry is semiconductors and smart devices, with salaries for these roles growing by at least 2% and some professionals earning up to ₩10 million more than before the pandemic. Engineering directors in automation engineering are seeing their positions skyrocket in value – the average salary for this role was ₩102.5 million. Now, they earn an average of ₩140 million, or even up to ₩165 million.

Business support

Business support candidates are in higher demand, as indicated by the rise in many roles, with all others remaining stable. Office administrators can earn up to ₩52 million a year, at an average of ₩42.5 million, growing by ₩2.5 million over the past year. The highest average salary is for office manager roles – this has remained stable at an average of ₩47.5 million.

There have been some lasting positive impacts to come from the pandemic, including the increase in remote working, which is likely to be a permanent change. Before the coronavirus led everyone to work independently from their homes, there was a stricter, top-down approach to work. Now professionals are trusted to take greater initiative.

Download the 2021 South Korea Salary Guide to find out more about what salaries and benefits you should be offering or accepting.

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