Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Archive for December 2010

Korean-Americans should be treated same as natives

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From the Korea Times.

I have to admit that our firm is somewhat guilty of this too.  While we don’t necessarily recommend Korean-Americans/Canadians on a lower pay scale, they are in a separate category then ‘E-2’ instructors who are considered true natives.  I wholeheartedly disagree with this notion but hey, this is Korea.  Sometimes a school a ‘원어민 강사’ which literally ‘foreign native speaker’ but they consider these to only be E-2 holders.  In other words, if they request a 원어민 강사, they are actually requesting a Caucasian instructor.  Umm…I’m Korean-Canadian (born in Canada) and consider myself a native speaker.  I guess it just sounds better than ‘gimme a whiteboy’.

However, like I said, the schools that we work with do not pay 교포 instructors any less than E-2 guys but nonetheless, it’s annoying that they’re placed in a different class.  Being paid less for this reason is even worse:

A 30-year-old Korean-American filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last May, claiming Busan Global Village, an English-immersion facility in Busan, paid him less than other native English speakers due to his birthplace, South Korea.

Even more pathetic though, is that he accepted this ridiculous salary:

He was hired by the institute last year and coerced to sign a contract that treated him like an English-speaking Korean, whose annual pay was roughly 7-10 million won ($6,100-8,700) less than those of native English speakers who were not ethnically Korean. He worked there between July 2009 and April this year.

So he was making around 800,000 KRW per month less than E-2s?  If this is true, that means if the average salary there is 2.2 million, he would be making around 1.4 million (English Villages don’t pay that much to begin with).  There are schools (including schools that we work with), that prefer Korean-Americans and actually pay them a premium salary over E-2s.  Those that have a lot of experience and connections can make salaries many times than that of the average ESL instructor.

If you have an F-visa, use it to your advantage and don’t be duped like this guy!

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December 31, 2010 at 10:30 am

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Hagwon vs. Public School

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This poster on ESL Cafe was wondering if there were any ‘good’ hagwons out there.

I know most people would say that a public school is more reliable and safe since it’s a ‘government’ position but there in my opinion, I would go with a private after-school academy.  Of course with a P.S. you get the long vacations, short ‘teaching’ hours, and reassurance that you will get paid on time and not dicked around with your contract but at the same time, you will more than likely be the only teacher at your school (and a bitch co-teacher which I find all too common), will be required to be at the school for long hours when not teaching (desk-warming may be a good thing for some people), but most importantly, the pay is relatively lower than a hagwon, especially for someone with teaching experience.

A hagwon on the other hand, will pay a ‘relatively’ decent salary (newbies: don’t accept lower than 2.2), will not require you to desk-warm for an unreasonable amount of time (although some may require you to do some extra B.S. work), and you more than likely won’t be the only teacher there unless it’s a really small school.  On the downside however, you will definitely get less vacation days and if you don’t do your research and find a bunk school with a prick director, you may be getting screwed.

Of course this is only my opinion and some may try to refute this.  A public school is best for someone who isn’t so concerned about money or for someone who has a lot of experience with decent pay to reflect that.  Also, if you’re studying for a post-graduate degree or doing some side work on the internet, you can do that during your desk-warming hours.  However, as most people are here to save some coin, probably best to go the hagwon route.  Of course there are a ton of shady schools (and recruiters) out there so as I had always mentioned, best to apply to one of the big chains directly.

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December 30, 2010 at 10:53 am

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Job Competition Averaged 71 to 1 in 2010

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From today’s Chosun Ilbo.  Obviously the Korean ESL job market for foreigner native English speakers isn’t this bad.  Otherwise, my job would really suck.  Check out the jobs below:

The most competitive industry was construction with 178 applicants per job, followed by IT (121) and automotives (101). The lowest rate was 24 in the electric and electronics industry.

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December 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

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Unification of North and South Korea becoming more likely

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Kind of a follow-up to my previous post on North KoreaThis article caught my eye but is still pretty vague on how Unification will happen.  Just a couple of comments from current President Lee.

President Lee Myung-bak said Thursday that residents of the sheltered communist nation know the world is changing. He did not elaborate on how their knowledge has expanded, or how soon unification would come.

Lee said during a trip to Malaysia that North Korea’s new understanding of circumstances in the outside world as “an important change that no one can stop.” His comments were posted on the presidential website.

I’m all for reunification (probably more teaching positions ha) but it will obviously put a damper on things economically for a long while.

Lee said South Korea has a responsibility to ensure that the North’s 23 million people enjoy basic rights, and that Seoul should use its economic power to prepare for unification.

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December 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

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Most S.Koreans satisfied with monthly earnings above 4M

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From today’s Hankyoreh.  The title is actually wrong.  It should actually say, “Most S.Koreans satisfied with monthly earnings between 3M and 4M”.  I’ve discussed salaries in Korea various times (here, here, here, here, here, here, here).  Please read through these as it will give you a different perspective from native English instructor salaries.  Of course if you have an upper management position with a solid company, you can definitely make nice coin when you factor in bonuses and other perks.  However, the average joe office worker is going to make around the same, or in many cases, much less than an English instructor.

These data appeared in the “South Korean Social Trends 2010” report released by the KOSTAT on Thursday. A study of income satisfaction by income level in 2009 showed 45.7 percent of those earning 3 million to 3.99 million Won per month rating their satisfaction as “average,” 38.3 percent as “unsatisfactory,” and 16.0 percent as “satisfactory.”

Interesting though that more were dissatisfied when making above that level.

Satisfactory ratings were given by 20.7 percent of those earning 4 million to 4.99 million Won per month, 29.4 percent of those earning 5 million to 5.99 million Won per month, and 36.8 percent of those earning 6 million Won or more per month.

Money is definitely one of the biggest (if not the biggest) factors in job satisfaction but of course there are so many other variables that makes one ‘satisfied’ with a job.  I would definitely take a (slight) pay cut if I could work less hours with less stress. However, being the go-getter that I am, I would be willing to take the same salary (no raise) if I would be promoted one rank.  Does that even make sense?  Maybe not.

I wonder what salary range would bring the most satisfaction to English instructors.

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December 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

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Worried about North Korea?

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2 words:  Don’t be.  If you’ve lived here long enough, you would know that this is almost a ‘normal’ occurrence that happens at least once a year.  Basically North Korea trying to start up some shit so they could use that as leverage to get food and aid.  Both Koreans and expats are going on with their business as usual.

“It’s comforting to be here and see what isn’t happening,” said McIntosh who arrived Sunday.

“Everything seems to be business as usual here.”

“There definitely seems to be a calm,” she said.

A 45-year-old German man, here on business, said that he was initially worried about coming to Korea, but after checking with his foreign ministry, he decided to come anyway.

Annika Nummela, an exchange student from Finland who arrived in Korea three months ago, said that when she first heard the news, it came as a shock.

“I was reading the news, watching what to do but still quite calm because everybody was so calm,” said the Helsinki native.

Joanna Kruppa, visiting Nummela, wasn’t quite sure what to make of the news, but after reading her native Finland’s foreign ministry website, she felt it was safe to travel.

Watching CNN and BBC, it is definitely blown out of proportion compared to local news.  While it is serious, it’s so common that people seem to be almost indifferent to the situation.  Of course it is still serious and people did lose their lives which does require action from Korea and other countries.  However, the bottom line is that Korea is still a very safe place to live and work.

An expat teaching English for her fourth year in Korea, said she was kind of surprised, and that her mother back in the U.S. was more worried, than she was.

Kristen Dickman said her mother thought that “we were all going to die,”

She had to alleviate the concerns of many of her friends and family back at home.

Kip Webster, an English teacher from Scotland who lives in Incheon, felt calm despite being a little closer to the devastated island than most.

“I was a little bit calm, but I suppose the Korean people that I work with, they were very calm about it, and that helped to reassure me,” he said.

Despite living a mere 90 kilometers away from Yeonpyeong Island, Webster felt completely safe.

“I’m very close, but I feel like it might as well be 1000 miles away, I don’t feel threatened at all,” said the expat of 18 months.

But there were those rattled by the North’s actions.

“I have one friend who is leaving on Friday because of this, and another friend whose parents and her whole family are really pressuring her to leave, because everyone’s really worried,” said Dickman.

None of these thoughts echoed for Elizabeth Castro, an expat from Mexico.

“No, I’m not afraid, I’m from Mexico. Mexico is more dangerous, this is nothing for me,” she said when asked if she felt she was in any danger living in Seoul.

For many in the South, it seems as they have overcome the initial shock. In light of the incident they are coming together, alleviating the fears of others and brushing off the North’s attempt at striking fear in them.

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December 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

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