The basics
South Korea: Career Prospects - Must read

How to find a graduate career in South Korea

How do you find a job in South Korea once you graduate if you’re an international student? You've come to the right place to find out...

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Have you been studying in South Korea? Soaking up the culture, traditions, and lifestyle. You might have realised that you’re not ready to leave just yet. If you want to remain in the country to work once you graduate, you’ve come to the right place. South Korea has the 14th largest economy in the world, with plenty of opportunities for international students. The main industries include electronics, manufacturing, shipbuilding, publishing, finance and more. South Korea is in particular need of English language speakers and IT and technology specialists. Could this be the best next step for you and your future? Find out here.

 

What’s the job market like?

There’s very low unemployment in South Korea currently and its economy has been growing steadily, making it a great time to get a job in the country. The Korean government is also keen on students from overseas securing jobs there. However, roles in certain fields are easier to come by than others so it’s important to do your research before committing to settling there to find a job.

 

The job market can be competitive as you'll be up against Korean nationals, but as long as you have a relevant degree from a Korean institution and a good command of the language, you may find your international background can serve as an advantage.

 

South Korea has also put itself on the map for globally leading companies such as :

  • Hyundai (car manufacturing)
  • Samsung (semiconductors)
  • LG electronics (electronics)
  • KPMG (financial services)
  • ExxonMobil (chemicals)

 

These international organisations are also keen to hire talented graduates offering opportunities for work placements and graduate schemes that will look great on your CV. You may even be able to transfer from one of these leading companies to a branch in a different country!

 

Can I work in South Korea as an international student?

If you’re looking to work part-time while studying in Korea the good news is, you can! As an international student on a relevant study visa you are eligible for working up to 20 hours a week during your course and you can work unlimited hours during your holiday time. 


Can I work in South Korea once I graduate?

You’re only eligible to work full-time in South Korea after graduating if you seek a visa for professors, have a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences and engineering or a master’s degree in a humanities subject from a Korean university. If none of the above experiences apply to you then you might find it tricky to secure a work placement and we recommend speaking to the international office at your university to discuss this further. Also, while it’s not always essential, learning Korean or understanding the basics of the language will be hugely beneficial when interacting with your colleagues.

 

In most cases, to be eligible to work in the country you need to change your visa status from D-2 to D-10. To change your visa status, you will need to visit your nearest immigration office at the Ministry of Justice in South Korea. You will need to provide the following documents when applying:

  • Complete application form
  • Passport
  • Evidence of your intent to find work
  • Evidence of your degree certificate
  • Application fee

 

What’s the working culture like in South Korea?

Hours: People tend to work long hours in South Korea, with the average being 52 hours as a typical working week.

 

Holidays: Companies in South Korea are legally required to provide employees with 15 days of paid annual leave after one year of service.

 

Overall, Koreans are known for their intelligence, work ethic and loyalty to hierarchical structures within companies.

 

Tips:

  • Take advantage of any work placement opportunities during your studies in Korea
  • Get your language up to scratch by taking a module in Korean language or investing in language classes
  • Network at all opportunities. The job market is all about connections
  • If you have work qualifications from another country check ahead of your trip if they're recognised in Korea

 

Useful sites for finding a job in South Korea:

HigherEd jobs - for PhD, postdoctural, research and lecturing vacancies at Korean universities
Korean national job centre - supported by the Korean government
Work net  - recruitment portal

 

Other useful sites: 

Hi Korea - for foreign nationals in Korea 
Government website on employment