Can Koreans find any good jobs in Singapore?

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After Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump had a summit in Singapore and people have more interests in Singapore, I personally had some questions about Singapore’s global image.

First of all, how do people all over the world think about Singapore? What aspects of Singapore could attract Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump to Singapore? Their original plan was to have a summit in the JSA where the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, and leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un met, but for the neutrality, they changed the place to Singapore.

Not only that, Singapore has a superior infrastructure for safety, security service, traffic convenience and coverage environment and Singapore is the number 6 trading partner especially with North Korea.

Furthermore, Kim Jong-un caught lots of people’s attention because he went out in Singapore at night one day before the meeting, and it is believed that he keeps Singapore in mind as an economic role model. Politically Singapore is the strategic point.

Besides political aspects, people all over the world shows favorable reactions when they hear about Singapore. The most used saying is like below:

  • Singaporeans speak English.
  • Singapore has the booming economy.
  • Singapore is really, really clean.
  • In Singapore, you can see the mix of people and cultures including little India, Chinatown, Mosque village.
  • Singapore is pretty and has lots of parks.
  • Singapore has the state-of-the-art infrastructure.
  • Singapore is a hub for getting to other Asian destinations easily.

In short, Singapore is the best country to live in for lots of foreigners.

Second of all, the people around me gave me the positive responses when I told them that I had a job in Singapore. My uncle said that Singapore is rich and safe country at the same time Singapore has developed markets, so I can have more chance to grow. However, what Koreans usually do here in Singapore is to work under the service job categories, and I’m not underestimating hospitality service. What I mean by that is people who work in the office come to Singapore and become a salesperson.

There is three main reason why Korean people prefer the service job; the limitation of Korea English education system, difficulties to find a right aptitude under Korean education system, and lack of advertisement about jobs in Singapore for Koreans.

As a previous English teacher as well as Korean, I always have complained about Korean Education system. It focuses on getting high score not for using English in real life. In Korea, we start to study English when we are young, even some parents send their children to the English kindergarten, but it is restricted within reading most among the four skills; speaking, listening, writing, and reading. For example, when I worked as an English teacher, I instructed students to memorize grammar and apply it to solving the problem. Because of these reasons, Koreans get the highest score in the reading part and the lowest score in the speaking part when Koreans take TOEFL type of test.

Nowadays, as English education market is so big and people know its importance, normally the young generation can speak English. However, it is limited only to the casual conversation when traveling. Even though Koreans can talk with friends in English, it can make Koreans feel a lot of pressure and give them fear when to work with the speaking skill.

Moreover, the education system in Korea and Singapore is totally different. In Korea, Koreans do not take a vocational education and this results in failure in work environment in Singapore Company. I realized that Singaporean can decide what major they want to learn and want to be in the future from high school days with the education system in Singapore; whether they choose ITE, Ni Tec or Polytechnic. Therefore, it is obvious for them to stand superior standards in the job market for Koreans because Singaporeans start this early.

Unlike Singaporean, a lot of Koreans don’t have time to think about what they want to be and what type of job they want to get into the education system. The goal of most Koreans is to enter the good university. What is the matter for the Koreans is the name of the university not the major, and for some students, even if they enter the good university, the major may not be the one they wanted to study. Then, of course, they will try to change their major and it can not only waste of their time but also delay the time when they can build the expert knowledge of one thing.

Some undergraduates feel confused and unsure while learning their major subject, and this leads them to pursue the job stability. The representative job related to this phenomenon is a civil servant. In Korea, being a civil servant is the most popular and competitive, which competition rate is 41: 1 high. Under this circumstance, Koreans can put a bigger emphasis on rather having a stable job in Korea than having a job abroad.

On the other hand, there are some Koreans who want to experience more because when they were young, they only had to focus on studying and they missed a lot of life values. That’s why they start to pursue the empiricism, and more and more young generation in Korea want to experience overseas experience, do working holiday, and study abroad.

Lastly, there is a lack of information about Singapore job to Koreans. When I search for Singapore as a keyword in the Korea website, “naver”, what I can find is more about traveling than about job searching. What this means is for most Koreans, Singapore is a good place to go sightseeing and that’s why Koreans don’t try to find a job or live in Singapore.

I was the person who wanted to get a job abroad because I like English so much. And accordingly, I found the places where I can use English. At the same time, I was the kind of person who wanted to try to live outside of Korea because I believed it could be a big experience as well as a challenge for my life. However, finding a right place is difficult. I searched for some Korean websites and asked friends, and I could find the USA and Canada where are expensive and far. Going to Canada as a working holiday worker is an easy way to get a visa but I wanted to make my own career and I knew that working holiday only allows me to work as a part-time worker. I also didn’t like the chance to go US because it was difficult to have a working visa and even if I’m allowed to work there, it was only for the 1-year period, which was too short for me, and there was a higher chance that I had to work in the Korean company.

Meanwhile, I could find one blog that helps people to get a job in Singapore. However, the major job category was limited to the service industry such as F&B and hotel. Many Koreans get that chance and come to Singapore, working in the service industry. However, they want to go back to Korea and have a negative impression about working in Singapore. They say it is too difficult to do and pays little money. I can understand them because working in the service industry is not easy unless you decide to make a career in that field. I heard even the Singapore people have hesitated about that job. In my case, I was lucky to work with a promising company and I’m enjoying learning new tasks.

I know for sure there are so many Koreans in Korea and even outside who have a job out of Korea, and that’s why I hope nicer working positions for Koreans to be posted. With a definite job offer, Koreans will think Singapore foremost more than US, Canada, and Australia. As a person who is living and working successfully in Singapore, I want other Korean young generation can get better jobs in Singapore easily.