Human resources directors of foreign companies visited Korea during Global Job Fair 2010 hosted by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) on March 30. 51 companies from 17 countries met with 334 Korean job seekers looking to work overseas. In addition, twelve companies that could not visit Korea held online interviews with job seekers.
This was the very first global job expo conducted by KOTRA, which operates 99 Korea Business Centers in various foreign countries with the aim of connecting its overseas networks with the Human Resources Department Service of Korea (HRDSK). This pilot project is especially meaningful as the unemployment rate of young adults (age 15~29) in Korea stands at 10%, the worst in ten years. The total number of unemployed in Korea as of February was 1.17 million (4.6%) with 430,000 of these belonging to the young adult group. “If the demand of foreign companies and the supply of domestic job seekers match, we will expand this type of job fair extensively. Our goal is to help 5,000 Korean job seekers find jobs in overseas countries by 2012,” said Cho Hwan-eik, President of KOTRA.
The morning sessions were comprised of speeches and presentations by J. Woehler, Secretary General of the Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Kim Joo-Hwan, Representative of Franunhofer, a German company; and Cho Min-jae, Senior Headhunter of Job2People, a headhunting agency in China.
The afternoon session was customized for each job seeker, providing opportunities to meet with overseas employers. Of the 51 companies that participated in the event, 32 companies were Korean and 19 were foreign. A total of 126 people were hired during the event. Among the countries represented at the event, nine companies came from Poland, the highest number among participating countries, with six each from China and Kazakhstan, five each from Germany and the U.S., four from Vietnam, and three from Japan.
Wolfsburg AG, a German company that provides technicians in the field of IT and Machinery to Volkswagen, the world-famous automobile manufacturer, plans to hire a large number of people from Korea if the Korean manpower hired during the event prove to be competitive. Most foreign companies look for manpower in the field of technology, but most Korean companies’ overseas branches look for manpower in management positions. Korea Yakult Corp. in Russia was looking for managers who could speak Russian, while LG Electronics in Levant hired Koreans who could fill management and planning positions.
Service industries such as airports, hotels and resorts were looking for the most employees, with 37 open-positions, while office management came next with 35 available positions, followed by IT, machinery, automobile, and environment industries with a total of 34 positions. Of the 334 jobseekers in attendance, 147 (44%) were female, which is more than was expected. Most job seekers were under the age of 29, followed by the 30-35 group. 60% of available positions required candidates to speak a second language, highlighting the importance of language fluency when seeking jobs overseas.