WORKING ABROAD / JUL. 10, 2013
version 2, draft 2

How to Relocate to South Korea for Employment

With the current economic climate having a negative impact on many countries from across the globe, a growing number of people are choosing to relocate overseas for employment purposes.

One of the most popular regions in the world is Asia, with locations such as Japan, China and Hong Kong being the go-to options amongst many job seekers. Another popular destination for employment relocation is South Korea, due to the unique culture and work environment that the country has to offer.

Moving to South Korea – what to bear in mind in the workplace

If you are considering a move to South Korea it is important to first visit that country to establish whether or not this is the country for you. South Korean culture is very traditional and it is important to respect workplace etiquette at all times.

Greetings

When meeting someone for the first time, greet him or her with a gentle bow. You will usually follow this with a gentle handshake. The younger person will be expected to bow first and in some cases the bow will be received by the boss, but not returned.

Business attire

Clothing must be smart and conservative with both men and women expected to wear neutral to dark colours. If the case that you are wearing a suit, do not remove your jacket until the most senior member does so first. Wait until he is seated prior to sitting yourself.

Working hours

Traditional working hours in South Korea were incredibly long and working into the night or on Saturdays without overtime was not unusual. Although a number of laws have been implemented to control such long hours, most companies do not abide by these laws and maintain the longer working hours culture. 

What to consider before moving to South Korea:

The culture of South Korea differs considerably from that of many western cultures therefore you may experience a culture shock when relocating there. A number of things to bear in mind include how different the management system is and how will you receive your salary.

Despite this dramatic change in culture, many people who relocate to South Korea for a year usually end up staying for far longer. 

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