Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

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.

Written by recruiterinkorea

December 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

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Sad but True

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Thanks GrizzlyB for posting a comment in regards to my post about English teachers trying to change their image.  You’re very pessimistic but you speak the truth.  Put simply, do your job, don’t expect any favours, and don’t do anything stupid.  I’ve BOLDED the parts that hit home.

Nope, English teachers just have to do their job and behave normally in Korea. Having a one year contract and a shitty free room does not equate to some obligation to run around and show Koreans who are xenophobic/racist that foreigners are human beings.

Start seeing Koreans as people who live in a society that is ethnically homogenous apart from a foreigner population of still limited size. While there is a general inability to see foreigners as people who are equal, there’s a mostly live and let live attitude towards them. As is the case in other countries, there are elements who are abusive towards non Koreans.

This is fed by irresponsible sections of the media and by politicians who get away in Korea with saying racist garbage that is not acceptable on the part of politicians in some other countries.

Korean society has a big problem with alcohol,has an age of consent that is 13, encourages males to pay for sex and accepts married men whoring around while wives and kids at home. Koreans are hardly in a position to criticise E-2 holders for partying on their days off provided the partying is not illegal in any way and Koreans are not harassed by drunk foreigners in any way.

E-2 visa holders don’t have to go out of their way to give money to Koreans and their causes, visit orphanages, do free work etc etc. In the case of orphans you are just going to end up being pestered for expensive/brand goods and will not be appreciated for small gifts you give. Korean orphans have the same shallow materialistic ethos that other Korean kids show.

In the case of helping care for the animals that are tortured and thrown away in shamefully high numbers, you won’t get any credit from Koreans nor will it change their attitudes either to their treatment of animals or foreigners.

So volunteer if you want to but it won’t make much if any difference to most Koreans’ attitudes. Just follow the law and don’t cause disturbances. Just because Koreans give you a job that pays less for the hours than some serving coffee and burgers back home doesn’t mean you have any obligation other than to do your job as well as you can and follow the law.

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November 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

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Hilarity on ESL Cafe

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If you haven’t already, please read this post on ESL Cafe before it gets deleted.  Basically it’s about some guy trying to start up a recruiting/dispatch company.

It’s funny how so many people think it’s so easy to become a recruiter for English instructors in Korea when they actually know jack squat.  I’ve talked about this here and here.  Anyone can find teachers.  Just post a free AD on one of the many sites and I guarantee you’ll at the very least get a few applicants.  However, it’s not only finding clients, but clients who are consistently giving you business.  This is what takes time, effort and business savvy.

Anyways, back to the thread.  Some knee-slappers:

So anyways me and him had a chat and we were both thinkig the same thing. Most (I think all) recruiters basically recruit and introduce to a Hakwon/school for a fee and they are free from all obligations. However our company actually recruits teachers and they stay our employee but are contracted out for 6 months or 1 year to various Hakwons.

Free from what obligations??  So the instructor actually is employed with the recruiter and is contracted to the school?  Sorry bud but an E-2 can only be tied to a school Einstein.

When Henry T Ford introduced his idea of a production line or when Bill Gates told his collegues he was going to put a desktop computer in every home across the world, people thought they were crazy to. However it didn’t stop them from implementing great ideas and I won’t stop because some jerks on some internet forum think I’m a “giant waste of space”.

Oh but you are a waste of space.  I’m okay with it though because you’re just so funny.  Remember that you’re product is ‘people’, not cars or computers.  Humans are a very unpredictable species; they will be great one day and screw you over the next.  Don’t expect them to act kosher all the time.

Is there no union or something like that? I am quite a dreamer and I think maybe one day we (native teachers) could form an organised union and you know work towards a more secure working environment for native speakers.

Maybe you should do more research into the industry before you even dream of something like this.

Well our basic wage structure is like this:

Monthly Wage: 2 Million Korean Won
Tax: 3.3%
Pension Contribution: 4.5% of wage (we pay additional 4.5%)
Medical Insurance: 2.835% or wage (we pay additional 2.385%)

We provide housing. Apartments (between 25 and 30 ‘pyung’). Three bedroom; for three people, same gender. Fridge, Washing Machine, Beds, Wadrobe, TV, AirCon, Boiler Heating. Just your normal apartment. We think its better for people to live together, less lonely etc.

We also plan to have monthly bonuses. Employee of the month, small monetary rewards or coupons to various things.

Also we will hold monthly ‘hweshik’, like dinners for employees. Where we get-together for dinner and some light drinks (all paid for by us) where we can relax and enjoy a good time. Maybe in the long run we’ll hold big Christmas Parties and hold other events such as an Athletics Day etc. Who has been exercising regularly since they got to Korea? I mean everything is home delieverd even at 3am so it’s hard not to gain weight I found! We are just starting so most of these are just ideas and concepts we are trying to implement.


Yes, I think you’re stupid!  Monthly dinners??  Wow, how will we ever compete with that?!

Written by recruiterinkorea

November 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm

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English teachers look to change their image

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From the Korea Herald today.  ATEK taking a different approach?  As discussed here, the new drug test plans understandably outraged English instructors in Korea.

One of Korea’s biggest foreign English teacher associations is taking an enlightened approach against the fight on mandatory HIV testing by correcting, rather than complaining about, the public’s image of English teachers as promiscuous party animals.

It’s a proactive approach but,

“ATEK prefers taking a problem-solving approach to that kind of a question, where rather than complaining about some perceived injustice, why don’t we get to work on improving the reputation of English teachers in Korea, by going out into the community and doing good stuff.”

Not sure if everyone will do that.  However, if a few bad apples can tarnish an entire community’s image, perhaps a few can set a good example and show that not all foreigners are dirty, diseased, perverted, unqualified joint-smokers?  Too optimistic?  Probably.

“When English teachers go out into the community and volunteer, collect clothes for poor kids and volunteer English lessons at the orphanage nearby, than instead of being that kind of faceless, scary, English teacher, it humanizes us and by contributing to Korean society and saying we’re not here just to drink and party and take our money and go home. We’re part of Korean society, and we want to be responsible members and contributors to Korean society.”

Umm…not to rain on the parade but I think a lot of foreigners (not just English teachers) do things like this already and the image remains the same.


Written by recruiterinkorea

November 16, 2010 at 10:56 am

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Worker with 10 years of experience gets W52 mil.

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Korean company employees start off pretty low but after 10 years make over 50 million KRW in annual salary.  Reading about Korean salaries definitely puts things into perspective.  A lot of foreigners in their 20s and 30s make over 50 million regardless of their line of work and we all know that working at a company in Korea isn’t always as good as it may seem.

Those in the finance industry however, aren’t seeing much increase:

However, the survey result is not applicable to all workplaces. A worker with 10 years experience at a foreign lender said that she didn’t see any increase with wages frozen this year.

“It doesn’t affect me. Normally bank employees have frozen salaries,” a female worker, who leads a four-member team at the lender, said on condition of anonymity. “I really want to see my salary go up next year.”


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November 2, 2010 at 10:39 am

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