January 18, 2022

[Herald Interview] Want a job? Tech skills are a must

PUBLISHED : January 14, 2022 - 10:30

UPDATED : January 14, 2022 - 10:30

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Kyle Jeon, Director of Client Relationship Management Group of Manpower Korea (Manpower Korea)

The ongoing pandemic has brought a significant change in South Korea’s job market where technology skills such as data visualization and coding -- not necessarily academic background -- have become prime qualities that businesses look for from job seekers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed brought about huge polarization in the local job market. Job seekers who majored in liberal arts or business are having a hard time finding job openings, whereas IT majors get hired easily,” said Kyle Jeon, Director of Client Relationship Management Group at Manpower Korea.

“Every business sector will transform into “IT plus something,” such as “IT plus logistics” or “IT plus restaurant industry.” Traditional industries are on the brink of survival -- (they must) undergo either radical digitalization or be pushed away by new tech-based startups,” Jeon added.

With the recovery of the economy, businesses are expanding hiring to accelerate the digitalization of their work.

“Eighty percent of our clients, hiring companies, are looking to hire in the manufacturing, retail, IT and healthcare industries. The industry that showed the greatest recovery in recruitment was the manufacturing sector. In particular, the semiconductor sector started to hire many engineers to tackle the global chip shortages,” Jeon said.

Aside from the IT sector, which has always been the center for hiring developers, food and fashion industries in the retail business sector have shown peculiar interest in recruiting IT workers, according to Jeon.

Since people have been staying more at home due to social distancing measures, food companies manufacturing precooked meals and supplying fresh ingredients has boomed throughout the pandemic. At the same time, these companies have been under pressure to further digitalize their sales channels by using big data and artificial intelligence to analyze and anticipate the consumption pattern.

The fashion industry is making efforts to catch up with fast-fashion that is focused on rapidly producing trendy clothes. Using digital technology, fashion brands are aiming at minimizing leftover stocks and anticipating new demand in advance.

“Even bio and health care industries are seeing soaring demand for IT workforce. Sometimes, we can’t even tell whether it is an IT or a healthcare company,” Jeon said.

Since working at home is becoming the new normal, companies prefer to assess work capability in the process of hiring as well.

Following the new trend, Manpower Korea established a Client Relationship Management unit in 2020 that focuses on proactively securing new clients and providing business solutions to the hiring companies.

According to Jeon, in order to retain Manpower Korea’s existing clients, the company offers them in-depth analysis of current market trends and the means to hire the best candidates at low costs suited to the client company’s life cycle.

Manpower Korea is the Korean branch of global HR company Manpower Group, providing headhunting, employment and HR outsourcing services catered to the needs of over 900 domestic and overseas clients.

By Byun Hye-jin (

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