South Korean Work Culture: 6+ Epic Facts

Korean Work Culture

Are you working or thinking about taking a job in one of the world’s biggest economies, i.e., South Korea? This blog post is for you! Today, we will walk you through what to expect about the Korean work culture so that you can easily adapt to their office environment.

At the end of the day, not all cultures are the same, and it is integral that you arm yourself with info on how not to appear rude to your co-workers. Check out these tips for a good background on the Korean language now. If you are ready, let’s get started!

South Korean Work Culture

Each country has its food and art, a particular culture, and represents the roots of the country. Similarly, their work environments are also unique. South Korea’s work culture may be one of the world’s most unique ones, as it holds many qualities that make it stand out and is proof of how staying true to one’s unique history and values can guarantee success. 

Let’s look into the most important components of the Korean work culture:

Hierarchal Systems

Korean work culture has well-defined hierarchical systems. Power distance and hierarchy are the most crucial aspects of Korean work culture. The hierarchy is determined by age and status. The individual with the lower status bows first to the higher standing or older. This pattern is followed in every area of life, where the senior member of the community initiates everything they are intended to perform.

Everyone has a certain role in society, determined by their age and social rank. Their position within the organization mostly defines the status of any individual. The highest priority is given to the person with the highest position, the boss, followed by the one who is the most senior in age.

Nature Of Korean Work Culture

Korean Work Culture: Nature Of Work

The Korean work culture is often compared with the military culture. The reason is the nature of the work ethic. The strict ranks, respect, status, etc., can be tiring on many levels. There is an unofficial policy that you will be required to work extra regularly.

Leaving the office before your supervisor or boss has left is likewise frowned upon. As a result, Koreans frequently work longer hours significantly than stipulated in their employment contracts. This may include working after regular office hours or on the weekends. 

Part-Time Jobs In Korea

A part-time job isn’t considered a real job in Korea. So, if you want to build a career, be respected, and have a good reputation, you must get a full-time permanent job.

Being A Newbie In Korea

When you are a newbie, you are treated very differently from the other employees. Even when you are just another worker, you are strictly expected to regard the hierarchy, report back to the seniors, and adjust the conditions. Your opinion doesn’t hold much value. 

Changes In The Korean Work Culture

The corporate culture is advancing rapidly. Due to strict monitoring procedures for supervisors to maintain hierarchies, many tasks include intricate practices that take time to complete. In addition, to maintain a positive image, the appearance of presentations and businesses is frequently rated higher than their content.

Korean Work Culture Workplace

Korean Workplace

Most Korean Companies have 40 hours per workweek, which is standard, but it usually gets very exhausting as most organizations require their workers to work overtime. 

While the workplace tends to have a much healthier relationship among the Co-workers. The hierarchy system ensures that the employees working in South Korean companies and regions maintain a strictly professional attitude. The Korean culture also ensures that the environment in the office and the relationships between the employees and co-workers remain pleasant. 

Korean Annual Ceremonies

The company has a very well-connected system in which each employee is associated with the other employees and even the boss. This is also valued by Korean companies, much like a family. The yearly Membership Training event also takes place for the team or the entire company.

In this event, the entire group goes to different partying sites to have fun throughout the night, which often the person cannot afford on their own. This helps the team to work efficiently and more productively.

Mostly, you have to work more than what you get paid, but on the other side, there are some perks. People around you are very considerate. Will often bring a meal for everyone in the office. Korean culture is more communal, indicating a family-like bond with fellow group members. Hence, improving the working environment. 

Communication In Korean Jobs

The majority of offices speak Korean as their official/standard language. However, this is dependent on the type of business. Some multinational corporations in Korean corporate culture may use a combination of Korean, English, and other languages.

If you’re a foreigner, there is No doubt that it’s essential to learn the Korean national language, but if you speak English, then your speaking skills can be used in many ways by the company. You can do my marketing manager dealing with foreign clients or garden walls involving a foreign language. The juniors and seniors often have a casual and funny conversation in the Korean language.

Other than speaking, the major setback faced by, for example, the newbies is the lack of communication our the lack of understanding read it. As per Korean culture, they are usually not so straightforward. You typically have to interpret many things yourself whenever you are at a family gathering with family members or a workplace, meeting, et cetera.


This term does not have an English translation, but generally, it means a balance of mood, feelings, behavior, etc. In South Korea, people usually protect the aura or, in other words, an unwavering Kibun. Like many other countries, societies, or cultures globally, Korean society tends to maintain peace in harmony, especially when strictly professional work.

The Korean or South Korean society always respects you and your opinion regardless of your age, status, race, or ethnicity. Similarly, Most Korean people expect you to treat them the way they did, which is highly regarded and appreciated. 

Importance Of Kibun

The nature Koreans understand the concept of Kibun, but if you are a foreigner, you may develop some misunderstandings or hurt the feelings of Koreans unintentionally. Hence you must understand the Korean culture, especially work culture, while dealing with Korean companies.

The Kibun is an integral part of South Korea’s corporate culture and is helpful if we consider this aspect while dealing with traditional companies. It helps us maintain the decorum of society and our surroundings having a beneficial impact on all our dealings. 

Job Opportunities In Korea

It is very hard in Korea to get admitted to a prestigious university because of the college entrance test. It is the base test, and if you pass this, it is comparatively easy to graduate and get a job. Only the first and foremost admission test is hard; the university you are admitted to further determines what post you are eligible for. 

Two times annually in Korea, there is a major time for applying for jobs. This is arranged by mostly the leading Korean companies and the government. It has many opportunities for the younger generation who just recently graduated from Korean universities and the other people who require a job.

Decision-Making For Koreans

Confucianism is an old Chinese method of thinking that has extended over most of East Asia, and it is sometimes portrayed as a religion, which is incorrect. It is, in essence, a fact of thinking. Confucianism has a significant impact on South Korean culture in various areas, including status, social connections, and interpersonal interactions.

South Koreans are generally friendly, and their culture places a significant emphasis on communal ties. A person is supposed to think about the advantages and interests of the entire cohort to which they belong. This culture’s influence on South Korean business is most seen in decision-making and negotiations.

Korean Work Culture South Korean Business Etiquettes

South Korean Business Etiquettes

South Korea does have its business etiquette, which is seemingly influenced by the country’s many cultures. An introduction from a friend or a worker in the firm with whom you work is extremely crucial. Meeting the proper individuals in a company nearly always requires the correct introduction. A third-party introduction signals to Koreans that the person/company with whom they will work is trustworthy, so the commercial connections between them may be more solid and continue longer.

One-to-one Connection

As a token of respect, the businessman bows and shakes hands with each other while maintaining eye contact. This is followed by an exchange of business cards presented and received with usually both hands. Since business depends on private connections and is based upon faith and trust, in South Korea, typically, it takes more time to finish a bargain.

Authority Figure

It is often seen as a business contract that may be taking place between two people of the highest authority. Still, it is considered highly disrespectful if the other party sends their junior worker to deal with the boss.

Changes In The Korean Work Culture

  • The contemporary business culture is recruiting more women, and hence more women are encouraged to join the workforce over the course of time. 
  • The government has made it necessary for the work hours to be limited to 40 hours per week. However, recently some Korean start-up organizations have just initiated 35 hours of work week, allowing the person to maintain a work-life balance
  • The minimum pay for the workers has been increased. 
  • Companies offer a flexible work system, which creates ease for the workers regarding the working hours in the office or work from home as per need. 
  • Giving the employees or workers a break in between the working leads to much better working environments and efficient work results for the business. 

Learn More Korean With The Ling App

That’s it for this blog post! If you liked it, we would be happy to inform you that there are tons of such articles on the Ling app. It is a language learning site you might have been looking for. It is best for teaching Korean, along with countless other languages. We have other articles, including but not confined to the South Korean government, Basic Words And Phrases In Korean, and a Korean grammar list.

The learning doesn’t stop there! The Ling app is available to download for your iOS or Android devices for you to use wherever you go. You’ll get 200+ worth of fun lessons, exercises, and an AI chatbot that you can practice with!

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