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With the rapid acceleration of digitization, the demand for skilled tech talent in South Korea has been on the rise across various industries.
Employers are doubling down their efforts to bolster digital transformation initiatives to respond to the ever-changing business landscape and adapt to today’s talent market.
In fact, a 2022 Robert Walters Salary Survey revealed that the most sought-after professionals in South Korea are software engineers, machine learning engineers, and product owners — job roles that are crucial for technology transformation and product development.
However, statistics show that the local talent pool is not enough to account for the demand for qualified tech professionals.
According to a report by the Software Policy and Research Institute, there were 9,453 unfilled software developer jobs in 2021, which is expected to grow to over 15,000 this year. This talent shortage is turning into a widespread concern. In fact, almost 70 percent of companies in the country have taken notice and are increasingly considering it a top-priority issue.
Companies from the electric vehicle (EV) battery market to the semiconductor industry are competing for skilled talent. In a report by Reuters, the three major EV battery manufacturers (SK On, Samsung SDI Co Ltd, and LG Energy Solutions) in South Korea are facing talent constraints, particularly when it comes to finding research and engineering specialists.
The case is no different in the semiconductor industry, which powered 20 percent of South Korea’s total exports in 2021. Major players in the sector are competing for skilled engineers to meet the rising global demand for semiconductors.
Recognizing the potential impact on the economy, the South Korean government has launched several initiatives to solve the talent gap. The country has taken measures to train workers, promote talent entry by easing visa rules for international workers for tech-focused roles, and provide youth mentorships and internship programs.
Recently, the government shared its plans to nurture a new generation of chip engineers. This includes opening new departments of semiconductor studies and bolstering academic-industrial programs at Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST) and Technology and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST). With these initiatives, the government aims to cultivate over 3,000 semiconductor professionals by 2027.
However, the underlying challenge remains: Roles for critical tech positions remain unfilled, causing a major disruption to many companies’ digital transformation and growth roadmap.
Think beyond the conventional approach
The growing demand for highly skilled talent presses an urgent call for employers to rethink their recruitment strategies and go beyond the traditional hiring approach.
While providing competitive compensation and benefits plays a part in winning the war for talent, leaders are now taking a holistic approach to attract and retain in-demand professionals.
For example, electronic giant Samsung recently rolled out a “service bonus,” a financial reward worth three months’ pay for employees that significantly contributed to the company’s sales growth in 2021.
In today’s employee-centric workplace, companies should reevaluate their current workforce’s needs, as employees are increasingly looking for flexible arrangements that promote work-life balance.
A recent survey revealed that the majority of employees in the information technology sector wanted a hybrid setup (52.2 percent) and remote work arrangements (41.7 percent).
This is why several companies and tech firms are adjusting their policies to adapt to flexible work arrangements. For example, tech giant Naver announced that it will allow employees to work from home permanently. At the same time, tech startup Jikbang took it a step further by launching a metaverse office.
Expand your talent search across borders
The drastic shift to remote work has become a catalyst for South Korea’s workplace culture, which in the past primarily preferred on-site work arrangements. According to a Labor Ministry report, 75 percent of South Korea-based companies plan to continue their current remote work policies or partially downscale them once the pandemic subsides.
This shows that companies in South Korea are beginning to embrace new ways of working, which will eventually spawn opportunities for employers to expand their talent search to other jurisdictions.
In a report by Aju Business Daily, Moon Yong-sik, President of the National Information Society Agency (NIA), emphasized the need to look for talent beyond borders to fill the local skills gap. He considered this an essential step to prevent “software talent crisis,” and avoid further heavy blows to growing companies. The unprecedented boom in major sectors — including automobile, electronics, and information technology — is creating a high demand for skilled talent in South Korea.
Moreover, the rapidly aging population in the country has also impacted candidate availability. To mitigate such issue, some companies, including semiconductor giant SK Hynix, are deploying late retirement policies in the hopes of retaining sought-after engineering talent.
With the declining population and shrinking talent pool, South Korea-based companies must embrace global hiring and consider innovative technology solutions to solve the talent gap.
Leveraging technology to solve the talent gap: How wondermove accelerated its expansion and hired the best talent
Companies of various sizes must leverage technological tools and platforms to win the war for talent.
For instance, wondermove, a Hyundai Motor Group spin-off startup, faced considerable challenges when it expanded into the European region. In its global growth journey, the startup experienced difficulties obtaining local insights, legal familiarity, and key information to assess its target market in Europe.
The team at wondermove realized that access to expert advice and local know-how would be vital to overcome these hurdles, which led them to Globalization Partners.
With Globalization Partners, wondermove quickly launched its expansion strategy and hired qualified local talent in Germany while minimizing costs, time, risks, and resources involved in global growth.
By leveraging G-P’s cutting-edge technology, wondermove hired a Korean employee living in Germany, enabling the company to accelerate its solution development. Thanks to G-P’s Global Employment Platform™, wondermove efficiently expanded without having to worry about the complicated legal procedures or tax issues oftentimes associated with international hiring.
Hiring the best international talent with a strategic ally
Companies looking to hire talent beyond borders must understand that the process comes with several challenges and complexities. Companies have to manage tax, payroll, and local employment laws to remain compliant.
However, a global employment platform bypasses all these difficulties. With Globalization Partners’ fully compliant technology platform, you can hire talent anytime, anywhere without setting up a local entity. Our industry-leading solution accelerates time to revenue by simplifying and automating critical HR-related tasks, such as recruiting, hiring, onboarding, payroll setup, data and reporting, and locally compliant contract generation.
In the new era of work, talent searches are no longer limited to local markets. Thanks to technological advancements, you can tap into global talent pools and recruit highly skilled professionals anywhere.
It’s time for South Korea-based companies to embrace international hiring to remain agile and competitive. Let Globalization Partners be your strategic ally in your journey to global success.
If you would like to learn more about how you can hire international talent quickly and compliantly, visit our booth at NextRise 2022, Seoul, Asia’s largest startup fair.