Foreigners negatively view jobs in Korea
Korea is a less attractive workplace for foreigners than Japan and China, according to a Boston Consulting Group study released Monday.
The U.S.-based business consulting firm asked 203,760 skilled job seekers from 189 countries which Group of 20 country they would most want to work in and the reasons behind their choice. The survey asked workers what mattered most to them - salary, tasks, working environment, the company’s reputation or benefits.
The European Union was not included in the survey, which allowed multiple answers to each question.
The survey showed that 63.8 percent of respondents said they thought working overseas would be a positive experience. More than 90 percent of participants from France, Jamaica, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Qatar and Pakistan said they wanted to work overseas.
Almost 97 percent of Pakistani job seekers said they desired to work outside the country, while 94 percent of job seekers from France and the Netherlands said the same.
Overall, the two biggest reasons they cited for wanting to leave their home country were for personal reasons and to diversify their jobs experience. Sixty-five percent of respondents selected those two reasons. Other reasons included a belief that overseas work experience leads to better career opportunities (59 percent), better job benefits in G-20 countries (58 percent) and better salary (56 percent).
Of the 19 countries, the United States ranked as the most desirable work destination, with almost 42 percent. Second place was the United Kingdom with 37 percent, followed by Canada with 35 percent and Switzerland with 29 percent.
But not many of the surveyed job seekers wanted to come to Korea, which came in 16th, after Mexico and Saudi Arabia at 14th and 15th place, respectively. Only Turkey, India and Indonesia ranked lower.
And Korea fell far behind its East Asian neighbors, with Japan coming in eighth and China at 12th.
For skilled workers from major countries, Korea fell low on the list. Talented workers from the United States put Korea at No. 13, British people ranked it 15th, and Canadian and French chose it as 14th.
People from other Asian nations showed slightly more interest in working in Korea. Indonesia picked Korea as its seventh favorite, the highest rank it received, while China chose it as ninth.
As reflected in the survey, more than 70 percent of foreign professionals such as teachers, researchers and tech employees residing in Korea were Asian as of 2013, according to a report by the Hyundai Research Institute. People from North America and Europe accounted for 24 percent of foreign professional workers.
The Boston Consulting Group report said that being viewed unfavorably by foreign workers was not just Korea’s problem, but affects all of Asia. Asian companies find it difficult to attract talented foreigners, mainly because of their hierarchical corporate culture and the high performance standards demanded by superiors.
The research firm cited the shift of employees’ priorities when choosing where to apply as the main reason Asian companies are falling behind.
The survey participants said that how much their boss appreciates their work was the most important factor in choosing a job. The second most important part of the job was the work environment, including having good relationships with colleagues and superiors and work-life balance. Four top factors were related to the working environment and feeling appreciated; the company’s financial stability, which is directly related to job security, was picked fifth. Salary came in as the eighth most important part of a job.
Analysts said that Korean companies should consider changing their corporate culture as part of a long-term strategy.
“Korean companies need foreign talents because they are being globalized so rapidly,” said Byun Joon-young, a consultant at Boston Consulting Group’s Seoul office. “So the companies need to cope with this problem with an active approach.
“Korean companies should hire foreign talents from a long-term perspective,” Byun added. “Now, companies hire them for temporary purposes [project-based recruiting].”
Korean companies should also focus more on corporate branding and publicity and on helping their foreign workers adjust to corporate culture and daily life, Byun said.
“They [employers] will have to think globally and find ways of showing appreciation for workers that goes beyond money,” the report said.
The research company also forecast that the global job market in the future will have freer exchanges of workers, giving job seekers more opportunities. But it warned that this doesn’t make job hunting easier, and that working abroad will become a more crucial part of a career.
“The better the opportunity, the more likely there are to be hundreds or thousands of highly skilled foreigners coming in to compete for the available positions, especially in countries and companies that have laid the right groundwork,” the report said. “Individuals may not have much choice but to spend parts of their careers in places that aren’t home.”
BY KIM YOUNG-MIN, KIM JI-YOON [email@example.com]