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Unemployment and foreign employment in South Korea Unemployment and foreign employment in South Korea
by Joseph Gatt
2019-12-21 11:20:32
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A few notes on solving the unemployment crisis and how to use expats in the workforce in South Korea.

-First off, big one. South Korea, Japan and China have this problem where they have ultra-liberal economic policies, low tax rates, and rather minimal bureaucracy for businesses. These factors lead to an overwhelming supply of goods that can not meet demand. Too much supply of goods, not enough demand.

skor01_400_01-To tackle the oversupply issue, two actors need to use their brains: the government, and businesses. The government needs to tackle the oversupply issue by raising tax rates to weed out of “donkeys” of business (by donkeys I mean those who get into business but perform very poorly and know very little about business) along with slightly more stringent bureaucratic requirements. Businesses also need to use their brains when it comes to making realistic assessments of the demand in their neighborhood. To give an example, there was this girl who called Dave Ramsay on his show, and said that she would set up a trailer to sell coffee and beignets at a street corner in Texas. Before getting into business, she spent 6 months examining how many people went through that street corner, how many people had a cup of coffee in their hands, how many people were likely to buy coffee from her, and even tried to identify patterns as to how many people walked through that street every single day. She also measured time of the day and the weather, and took those factors into account, before choosing a spot for her trailer.

That's how it's done.

-Finally, the oversupply issue also leads to hard-sale tactics, attempts at graft, violence at the workplace and other ills. In sum, businesses in Korea need to adjust the supply of goods to the demand of goods.

-Once you know your market, know how to adjust your supply to your demand, things should be easy on the job market in South Korea. Korean workers tend to be educated, disciplined, the banking system is good to say the least, communication systems are excellent and logistics and transportation and everything else work fine. Korea has all the ingredients it needs to have full-employment, all Korea needs is to fix this supply/demand issue.

-Of course there's the job security issue (Korean companies are not allowed to fire workers, thus have to bully them into resignation) and the rank/task issue where Korean companies use a rank-based system in their companies, and ranks can not be transferred to other companies, meaning that if you lose your job, you lose your rank. I will never repeat enough that a task-based career is optimal for full- employment, because many would rather stay home and do nothing than lose their rank.

-Now for the question of how to use non-Koreans optimally in the Korean workforce. Non-Koreans tend to bring a foreign element into the business, that is they have connections to foreign countries and speak foreign languages and are familiar with different ways of getting business done. However, many foreign workers are not very good at explaining how things are done in their country, a lot of times are not sure how things are done in their country.

-So for foreign workers you want to look at three things: diplomas, skills and experience. Those with foreign diplomas have usually gained a theoretical knowledge in some field from their country. In some cases they got training fixing things or drafting things or working on machines or problems that Koreans are not trained to deal with. Those with skills, you want to look at skills that Koreans don't have. Those with experience, be it within Korean companies or at companies overseas, can bring a fresh perspective on how business is done overseas.

-Now for both Korean and foreign workers, job satisfaction is a serious issue to deal with. Overcrowded, noisy offices, nepotism and placing people at authority positions who know nothing about the trade, lack of emotional stability among workers, lack of communication and communication breakdown, office drama, and hypercompetition because of a rank-based system where promotions get rewarded with titles and raises, death threats, threats of lawsuits, extreme surveillance of workers, strict anti-unionizing policies all lead to me saying: if you can get a job in a “civilized country” go for it. Korean people are civilized of course, but the work environment, sometimes, is not civilized. That's my opinion.


    
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