I AM QUITE A NOVICE president having only just one-year experience as President of my own business. It has been quite a challenge since I have been studying full-time as well, but it has been a great experience.
The first and probably most important thing that I need to tell those of you who are thinking of starting your own business or considering getting a part-time job is, it is a wonderful and important opportunity, but only do so after serious consideration, as it is difficult to balance work and studies.
It is a well-known fact that in the current employment market, most employers tend to seek employees with work experience. In general, a major company will pay approximately 10,000,000 won to educate a newcomer in order for the new employee to become an asset to the company. This is referred to as, on-the-job training and the cost to do this is referred to as, educating cost. Let's suppose the newcomer earns 18,000,000 won a year. The company therefore will have to pay close to 30,000,000 won in the new employees first working year to cover his or her annual salary, plus the cost of training. Moreover, after completing a 4-year university degree, it is very difficult for employees to exhibit their ability in the actual workplace because most students have little to no work experience. Most Heads of Personnel Departments in large companies claim that the 4-year curriculum at university can actually be taught in just one year in a real workplace.
Presently, a lot of companies are inclined on downsizing. Therefore, university graduates will require more time and effort contemplating how to acquire their career than they will actually seeking out their first job. Even if some students are fortunate enough to get a job right after graduation, there is still no guarantee for life-long employment.
The new saying, honorary retirement at age of 38, retirement at 45 and a thief if you dare to stay working past 56 is no longer considered to be bitter humor. In particular for the IT industry, retirement at 35 could be a reality. Even worse, it is quite difficult for someone to be re-employed without having specific work-related experience in the field of the new job they are applying for. Employees have been turned away even after having worked for a large company in the past because their experience may be from a slightly different spectrum of the business world. Rather, the person who has career experience that matches the requirements of the position will be preferred for employment, even if their previous experience was gained from only working in a medium or small company. I assume this kind of social trend will continue in the business world.
In addition, it is good to remember that starting an enterprise is not an easy task. Be aware that starting your own business is not a ticket to permanent employment. There is nothing you can do to prepare for all of the obstacles you will face in the first few years of starting your own business. Starting a business requires a great range of knowledge in various areas. You should have an understanding of personnel management, finance, technology development, trade, distribution, inter-personal skills, government policy guidelines, and a deep understanding of social trends. If these prerequisites are all satisfied, even a grocery shop could be regarded as a successful enterprise. But if this criteria is not met, the entrepreneur will quickly be seen as foolish and naive. Of course, I would not say you have to be a specialist in all of these areas, but you should have a solid foundation and awareness of all aspects of the business world. You must also be prepared to continually study in hopes of one day being a specialist in every aspect of your business.
Before starting my own enterprise, and while studying full-time at Yeungnam I worked at acquiring various types of work experience. For 6-month periods I worked at a CVS, a gas station, a machinery repair shop, a trade business. I also worked as a night guard and as a game planner. If I did not have these kinds of experiences, then I would still be eager for employment, and spending all of my free time studying TOEIC in hopes of increasing my chances of getting a job after graduation.
In short, all university students should have an understanding of the trend of social changes in our job market in order to successfully pursue a career goal. Also bear in your mind that the key word in the job-market these days career experience. If you want to achieve your career goals after graduation, then begin gaining work or volunteer experience now, while you are a student. Also, do not ignore medium and small companies while job searching. They are great places to gain valuable career experience. And finally, do not attempt to start your own business without having good career experience first.
I hope that this article has provided the students of Yeungnam with an awareness of the current social trends in the Korean business market. I also hope it has provided a few tips for those students who have vague expectations of whats to come in the future in terms of employment in Korea.