Monday, May 30, 2011

Reader Question...a move from Japan to Korea

These ones from Jeff:

"I wanted to ask if there were any job possibilities in Korea as things in Japan are drying up and working at better Uni's is hard to come by.  We have 30 weeks a year for teaching, 15 per semester but the Ministry of Education and the Work Laws have changed and forced those of us who depend on part-time positions to run like crazy from uni to uni to make ends meet.  My guess is the work year is longer there but the pay and housing is better according to what I've seen on your page.  Is there a common board where jobs are posted by Korean uni's or is it word of mouth.  I have heard that working 3 days a week can actually save a load of money and live well.  I'm working 6 days a week at the moment and teaching 20 classes at the moment."
You paint a very rosy picture of Korea Jeff!  Lessen that by about 50% and it will much more accurate.  Let me answer your questions in list form:

1. There are uni jobs in Korea to be had, but simple demographics (the lowest birthrate in the world) shows that the jobs will be drying up here as well in the next few years.  Also, Chinese is becoming the language to learn these days it seems.  I wonder how long it will be before students have the choice whether to study Chinese or English as their mandatory language class in uni.

2. Most unis here have 15-16 week semesters.  But, a lot of places have mandatory camps or other work during the summer, sometimes paid, sometimes not.  A realistic vacation is 4-6 weeks in summer and the same in winter.  A standard work-week is about 15 hours.

3. Many jobs are posted on ESL Cafe.  But, my guess is that the majority never get advertised and are filled through word of mouth.  It can be tough to break into a uni job, without being in Korea doing another job first.  99% of unis require in-person interviews.  

4.  3 days/week jobs are very rare.  It's usually 4 days/week at unis.  However, most people work 5-6 days/week to make more money. Unis will pay a standard salary of 2-2.5 million/month, with free housing.  Then, you can make more if you work overtime.  The rate is around 30 000 Won/hour.  

Hope that helps!


Bob said...

You missed several point in this article like:

-What are your qualification?

A BA, MA, and PhD/EdD have very different opportunities.

-What tier university do you want to work at?

Yonsei University (top tier school) and Woosong University (lowest tier school) have very different compensation. Anyone can do Woosong, but you actually need a MA (at least) to work at Yonsei Seoul Campus. Woosong pays crap, Yonsei pays well.

Several other considerations...

Anonymous said...

If you're only getting 30k/hr for your private work, then you're short changing yourself and devaluing the work of other private teachers. There is no reason for anything less than 50k, some would argue 80k, and the those who know how to position themselves make over 100k/hr.

Jackie Bolen said...

@Bob: yes, of course I missed lots of stuff. But the reader didn't really ask those questions. And actually, if the reader had a PhD, or a MA Tesol or something, I'd hope they wouldn't be hustling around Japan 6 days/week to pay the bills.

I also assume that most people in their first year in Korea wouldn't be able to snap up a first tier job, which is why I didn't talk about this. After 6 years in Korea, I'd have a hard time landing one of those jobs.

@Max: I'm talking LEGAL overtime, offered by your uni in the middle of the day in your breaks. You'd have a hard time finding this for more than 30 000/hour I think.

If you're working illegal OT, then yes, I wouldn't do it for less than 50 000/hour. But, I'm not interested in always watching my back and running around at nights and on weekends doing this. Some people are I guess.