Korea`s unemployment rate rose for the first time in eight months in September, according to data from the National Statistical Office 2009. But recruitment plans at some domestic companies may melt the chilly job market for international students.
Jobs for international students have expanded ever since companies recognized that hiring global talent makes them more competitive in the international market.
Samsung Electronics plans to increase 20 percent of the portion of international students working as a board member in two to three years. Hanwha Group will accept 270 international students to its internship program. The company also conducted a job fair on April 30 at Seoul Plaza Hotel targeting international students who want to work in Korea.
CJ Corporation provides two global internship programs to international students - CJ Global Networks program and CJ Internship. CJ Global Networks program gives a general understanding of CJ Corporation, while CJ Internship lets international students experience corporate culture and find an area of personal interest.
International students who start their careers in Korea get cross-cultural business experience and earn decent pay. “I want to work in Korea while working for cross-cultural projects with people from all over the world,” said Ota Nao (Japan, 23, English Literature). “I am planning to start my career in Korea, which I fell in love with, while competing with talented people in this age of limitless competition,” said Takeno Chihiro (Japan, 23 ,Policy studies).
According to a 2010 survey by JOBKOREA, the country’s biggest on-line job site, 22 percent of small businesses are considering hiring international students. That doubles last year’s number.
The survey also showed by targeting 127 domestic enterprises, want to construct borderless business networks by hiring employees of different nationalities and ethnicities. Moreover, enterprises consider international students a solution to problems like low birth rate and an aging society.
“International students will be the answer for the lack of labor in the near future. This is the major reason why many companies embrace global talent,” said an employee at CJ Corporation’s human resource department.
To attract global talent, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology set up guidelines for administrative and support services for international students on April 21
According to the guideline, the Korean government expects to construct close cooperation with corporations to increase employment chances for international students.
It also plans to let international students who are looking for jobs stay in the country for an extra six months to a year after they graduate.
“Not only corporations but also the government is trying to encourage the employment of international students in Korea in various ways, as the guideline indicates” said Koo-Hyuk chae, head of the Global HR Division of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
The ministry and major enterprises hold an annual job fair for international students. The ministry and the National Institute for International Education are also considering opening an online job information site for international students this year.
Furthermore, universities are setting up programs to help international students adapt to Korean society. The Office of Global Affairs of Ewha Womans University provides the Ewha Buddy program to help international students find their academic interest and jobs in Korea.