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Korea – Money talks for foreign languages

29 August 2013

More than three in four professionals in Korea received salary rises in 2013, according to Robert Walters’ Employee Insights Survey 2013. The survey examined the sentiment of bilingual professionals in Korea for their careers, progression opportunities and globalisation. The industry with the most professionals that received salary increases was the manufacturing sector, while information technology respondents were the largest group to receive salary decreases.

In a sign that salaries in Korea are on the rise, 75% of respondents to the survey received salary rises in 2013. More than half of all bilingual professionals (57%) received rises up to 10%; with 18% receiving increases of +10%. Conversely less than one percent of professionals received salary decreases between of up to -10% this year, while salaries for 2.5% of workers fell by more than -10% according to the survey. Pay for 21% of bilingual workers in Korea remained unchanged from 2012.

Anthony Modrich, country manager for Robert Walters Korea, commented: "Employer demand for highly skilled, bilingual Korean professionals continues to intensify the talent shortage in Korea across a number of industries and disciplines. Many workers received salary rises when switching companies, with employers generally prepared to offer increases to attract professionals for both newly created and replacement roles. Additionally many employers also offered company-wide annual pay increases."

The 2013 Survey also notes that the highest proportion of professionals that received salary increases worked in manufacturing, consumer goods, and information technology. In contrast, workers that received a pay reduction likely belonged to companies in the IT, financial services and consumer goods industries.

Modrich explained: "Historically, manufacturing-related positions have been amongst the roles which see the lowest staff turnover. However, turnover is growing as manufacturers seek to hire additional highly skilled industry specialists, and employees become more aggressive in managing their own career paths. This has led to a corresponding increase in salaries, both to attract and retain staff.”

“Interestingly, we have seen the widest salary variations, both increases and decreases, within the IT & consumer goods industries. This trend reflects large differences in the financial performances for these companies, which have become more pronounced in times of economic uncertainty," he added.

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