18 April 2024

Trends in the Recruitment and Job Placement Market in Korea, January-March 2024

Trends in the Recruitment and Job Placement Market in Korea, January-March 2024

Korea: Robust Hiring Demand in the Automotive Industry Continues from the Beginning of the Year

Number of job offers YOY:57%
Number of job openings YOY (past 3 years):

2021202220232024
Apr - JunJul - SepOct - DecJan - MarApr - JunJul - SepOct - DecJan - MarApr - JunJul - SepOct - DecJan - Mar
167%88%117%90%96%84%125%104%73%169%60%76%

< Market Overview in Korea >

The display and automotive industries continued their strong performance from the end of last year, and exports are expected to continue to grow. While exports have increased, domestic sales of Hyundai and Kia, the two major automakers, have decreased year-on-year. 

However, this is seen as a temporary phenomenon in the transition period from sales volume to value-added sales such as quality. Hyundai, which has actually shifted to a profit-oriented policy, saw its operating profit for the first quarter reach a record high.

The semiconductor industry is sluggish, with Samsung Electronics announcing an operating loss of 14.88 trillion won in the semiconductor division for the fiscal year ended December 2023, while SK Hynix turned to a black profit for the first time in a year in the October-December period of 2023.

< Local Hiring Trends among Companies in Korea >

Job openings in the automotive industry, including secondary batteries and HEVs, increased slightly year-on-year in the first quarter. However, due to the strong export performance of the automotive industry, it seems that the need for increased hiring is more for pre-investment rather than vacancy filling. 

There were many requests for technicians and career salespeople in their 30s with experience in niche areas with a small number of people, but due to the acceleration of the hiring shortage in the first quarter, the age range is also becoming wider. In addition, there are many requests for Japanese speakers from Japanese companies, but recently, it has become difficult to hire because there are especially few young people. 

In recent years, there have also been an increasing number of cases of expanding business to East Asia and neighboring countries from Korea, so there are also an increasing number of requests for English and Chinese speakers. The outlook for the automotive and secondary battery industries is expected to remain good, and there are many talks about expanding hiring plans.

< Job-Seeker Trends in Korea >

While the semiconductor industry is still active, people in the industry are starting to move to the automotive-related secondary battery & HEV industry due to the strong export performance of the automotive industry. In particular, there is an increasing need for sales professionals, but more and more candidates are moving in search of conditions amid continuing inflation in Korea. 

Overall, salaries are rising, but prices are rising even more, so there seems to be a high awareness and need for better conditions, but many candidates still seem to be cautious about changing jobs.

There are also some positions that are said to be reversing with Japan in terms of salary, but the hiring power of Japanese companies is not high in the market.

Masashi Kato

JAC Recruitment Korea Managing Director
Masashi Kato

■JAC Recruitment Korea Overview
https://www.jacgroup.com/en/locations/country/korea

■JAC Recruitment Korea Website
https://www.jac-recruitment.kr/en

【JAC Recruitment Asia: Job Listing Comparison Report (Previous Quarter and YOY)】

 Change from previous period(Oct-Dec)Year-on-year comparison
Singapore108%55%
Malaysia118%88%
Thailand108%68%
Indonesia122%134%
Vietnam86%97%
Korea76%57%
India110%96%
Japan(*)109%92%

*Recruitment Related to Overseas Operations of Japanese Companies
Note: The number of job openings in each Asian country may fluctuate due to deliberate strategies implemented by individual Asian companies (such as focusing on high-paying job openings or specialist positions). Therefore, changes in the number of job openings in each Asian country do not directly reflect the performance of each company.

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