Checklist before accepting a job in Korea

29 09 2010

If you have received a job offer from Korea the first thing you would do is weigh the pros n cons of leaving your existing job and come to Korea of all the other places in the world. So the question is – Is it worth coming to Korea?

And to find the answer you might use Google or get in touch with someone who has been already worked here. Or try to find a online community of Indians working here.  Everybody would go out of their way to share their experience. Some might be positive and some might rather confuse you and make you think – Is it really worth coming to Korea?

So the question still remains and you have left with no choice but to figure it out for yourself. Or in other words do a proper groundwork before coming to Korea. Korea is no doubt a beautiful place with attractive mountains, pristine beaches and 4 different seasons. So one should not miss an opportunity to come to Korea. And to make the most out of it one should do a thorough groundwork.

I am sharing with you a very comprehensive checklist created by Mr. Prashant J Soni who is currently working as a Sr Design Engineer here in Korea.

Let me explain the things here in the easiest way my Indians can understand. With an example of a cricket match (Nope! I am not kidding here).
I remember the match bwn IND-WI. Carl Hooper won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 314+. While India chased down the score very easily.

At Award presentation ceremony Ravi Shastri asked him – “The pitch was batsman friendly, still u opted for batting. Don’t you feel your decision was wrong?”

Hooper replied – “No decision is Right or Wrong!! If u take a decision, stick to it. But before u take that Decision, make sure that you are done with your ground-work. That’s where we lacked”!!!!
This is exactly what all people do. The most important thing we miss is ‘groundwork’!!!!

Let me tell you what all ground work I did before accepting an offer in Korea:

1) I googled for Work culture in Korea. That prepared me mentally for ‘long-working’ hours.

2) Googling again told me that ‘Seoul’ is one of the 5-costliest cities in the world and inflation is a-bit high here.

3) I mailed to all the friends in my network asking if they know anybody who ever been to Korea? I got 10-11 references.

4) Mailed all of them 10-12 questions asking about:

  • Indian Food Availability.
  • Working hours.
  • Taxation rules. And, as consultant committed falsely that tax is 0%, I made sure that I do not have to pay any tax back in India.
  • As 95% of companies provide accommodation, I asked for
  • approximate ‘Flat maintenance charges’ + ‘Water-n-Room Heating
  • expenses’ + ‘Society maintenance charges’ and ‘Internet/ TV/ phone/ mobile Connectivity charges’.
  • Cost of Transportation (to-from company and personal).
  • A rough estimate on eatables/ fruits spending.
  • Kid’s education (its extremely costly)….and some more.

5) Through one of my friend, who is International HR, got a rough salary idea. She suggested me **most important** thing… To ask my employer to provide me a ‘Sample Salary-Slip’ before signing the Contract.

Indian consultants for Korea make a fool of us by telling that Tax is 0% and your Salary will be 2-times OR 2.5-times of Indian Salary without telling us anything about high cost-of-living!

Thanks to my employer, they provided me salary slip in KRW and U$D. After comparing it with the Indian consultant’s commitments’, there was a difference of ~2000 U$D!

6) As I was not going to use food-coupons of my employers, I made sure to add KRW 5000 per day instead. Not much for him but fair enough for me.

7) Knowing about ‘Long working hours’ and ‘working on weekends’ helped me to Crosscheck the rules with employer. My employer mentioned KRW 50,000 for working on weekends (which they actually give to their regular employees).

<Important> If anything is NOT mentioned in Contract, it won’t be given
;). U can always ask your employer for a ‘Rough Draft-of-Contract’ before u sign.

8) Through ‘Sample Salary Slip’ I got to know that, after end-of-year when I will return back the ‘National Insurance Fund’ amount (may range from $1000-$1500) can be deposited into your Indian Bank account. And you need to fill a form for that in the last week, before you leave.

9) Though Employers mention in contract OR consultants commit that “every company has IP-phone… and u can make any number of calls from office desk..blah…blah…” Its you who should make sure that u GET this facility actually, through Contract.

10) My employer is very honest. However there may exist some employers who *may* create problems in ur last month’s salary. Keep a Check on that!

The Indian consultant started with and offer of 25K U$D p.a. (in-hand + accommodation + all charges).. and after final offer his words were -“this is the biggest offer any Korean company has made for your Experience-slot”.

…Not that much actually… But, I am really carefree about miscellaneous spending!

All I did was, I spent ~2-weeks in all this… Ground-Work!

Pardes ja rahe ho yaar… itna pataa karne ka to haq banta hai. Afterall, its my life… it me who is sacrificing!!!

On the contrary, when I reached here… I met 2-friends in Pyeongchon who were looking frustrated as Consultant showed them a mirage of 2-2.5 times salary. They didn’t negotiate for anything!!!!

Maintenance charges + Internet + Food + Room-Water heating charges all these they were paying from their pocket and worked for free on weekends as it wasn’t mentioned in contract! Unfortunately, they breached the contract and went back to India on -ve notes! 😦

<Final Notes>
1. It’s you who is sacrificing.
2. They ‘need’ you.

To contact Prashant J Soni you can mail him at:
or view his profile on:  View Prashant Soni's profile on LinkedIn

So should you accept a job in Korea. Well let me summarize this with a quote from Bhautik Vaidya an Indian working in Korea –

The most positive side of employment  at South Korea is Indians are respected by Koreans than other places of world.

This is true. Indian Engineers are very much in demand here.




One response

29 09 2010
Zahid C.V new bwn….. |

[…] Checklist before accepting a job in Korea « Just Another Indian in … […]

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