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Author Topic: Do you guys feel like we have job security here in Korea? (EPIK, Hakwon, etc)  (Read 3365 times)

Offline Sasstiel

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My fiance and I disagree on this topic, so we were wondering what everyone else thought. Feel free to share your opinions and your experiences.

:)
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Offline MayorHaggar

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Have fun working for EPIK when your province suddenly decides to non-renew everyone because of "budget cuts," then 1 year later hires a bunch of new people.
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Online theman3285

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LOL

Job security? We're living year to year, sister - zero guarantees.

If you want to know what job security is, talk to a local (Korean) teacher. Those guys have it made.

Online zola

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Zero.

As i learned a few times, all it takes is one person with a bee in their bonnet, some harebrained initiative, budget cuts etc, and you are out of a job. Young, single and free? You can roll with that. Married with dependents? Living year to year on 1 year contract makes it hard to properly plan for the coming years and secure your loved one's future.
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Offline TDC troll

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Same here .  Zero / none / not even a little .

Been here twenty years , never at a job more than 4 years .
Just get to that 4 year mark and then it comes .... Sorry we got to let you go .
I've been told this once , " well you can stay but take a 500,000 won pay cut .
That was back in good old 1999 when I got 4 million/month .

Then just as recently in 2013 I was up to 3.2/month .
After 3 years , one day , the director told me straight out " I gotta let you go " .
Why , I asked . So he says he's going to hire 2 Phillippine teachers for 3mil/month ( 1.5 each )
wtf !!!
So , I enquired at the local education office , about the legality of this .
In certain areas ( not Seoul )  people from other than the  7 recognized countries ,
can teach English .

I have been here awhile , while not all of my income relies on teaching , thank god ,
I still try to to get a paycheck while I still can . These days at after-school . Again really shady !

But I'd suggest , if you think this kind of a job is stable , think about it again .
You will never have the stability of a Korean .

Have an experience , leave after a couple years .

Offline AnthroInKorea28

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I think in part it depends on where you are but still you gotta remember that we are contracted teachers and any contract employee doesn't really have security beyond that contract period. Though I do feel the if you are an EPIK teacher you have a little more security as they don't hire Filipinos or anyone outside the primary 7 countries, still, your salary caps out a lot lower. Still, I am pretty sure that the Korean government policy to some extent is meant to have foreigners stay here for shorter periods of time, I don't think they want to have foreigners coming here and staying for +10 years... at least not in large numbers.
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Offline Davey

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Yes,  so if you're here for the long-haul, try to get an F visa.
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Search this site using Google by typing, "site:waygook.org [search term]," especially during peak hours. Alternatively, use the site's search function.

EPIK: VISA, RENEWING, PENSION, ETC:

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Offline Orkblut

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Do you get some type of unemployment fund if you lose your job? Are you part of a union? Can you receive pension in Korea once you retire from your job? There are your answers. You're better off working in the West.

Offline Orkblut

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And never mind job security, you lose your job the majority of EPIK/hakwon workers lose the roof over their heads as well. You have monthly security when/if you get paid and that's it.

Offline MoneyMike

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No security at all. I'll be happy if I can get another 2 or 3 years out of this gig, (EPIK) then I'm back to Canada.

Online JNM

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You are not alone.

Even as a professional engineer, I work year (or less) contracts. The last few were written as terminable by the client “for convienience”.

Online cheolsu

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Being in demand is a form of job security. I think if you're teaching English in Korea, you can be pretty sure that you could still teach English in Korea 10 years from now. Beyond that, however, there's not much security. There's no guarantee that you'll have a job a year from now as positions generally go from contract to contract. The pay is stagnant and often includes or is tied to housing, which means that changing your job means you have to move with no idea of where you'll be living, or potentially negotiate with your employer to take over a housing contract tied to your previous employer.

I think teaching is a great job and I know many great teachers here, even people without formal qualifications related to education. I just don't think it's a great bet in Korea, anymore. If you're in your early 20s or just here for a couple of years at any age, disregard this. If you like teaching and enjoy the flexibility it offers (flexibility is different from security), by all means continue. If you're trying to save money or possibly start a family, I don't think a typical teacher's salary on an E2 is a great option.

Working full-time at the minimum wage now yields a monthly salary of 1.7 million KRW. Many places can beat this, like working full-time at a Nike store, which pays about 2.1 million a month plus benefits like money for gym memberships, holiday and performance bonuses, as well as paying your share of your pension payments.

That doesn't mean anyone working for 2.1 or 2.2 is a failure or a loser, but like many other industries back home, ELT in Korea just isn't paying that well despite requiring a university degree, additional certifications and reams of paperwork. When you consider the likelihood of a position to get cut or eliminated, or just to be not that good in the first place, I think it's certainly worth considering other options in Korea or overseas.

Offline SanderB

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Teaching in Korea is like whole leaf tea, if you steep it too long it turns bitter. :azn:
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Offline hangook77

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Being in demand is a form of job security. I think if you're teaching English in Korea, you can be pretty sure that you could still teach English in Korea 10 years from now. Beyond that, however, there's not much security. There's no guarantee that you'll have a job a year from now as positions generally go from contract to contract. The pay is stagnant and often includes or is tied to housing, which means that changing your job means you have to move with no idea of where you'll be living, or potentially negotiate with your employer to take over a housing contract tied to your previous employer.

I think teaching is a great job and I know many great teachers here, even people without formal qualifications related to education. I just don't think it's a great bet in Korea, anymore. If you're in your early 20s or just here for a couple of years at any age, disregard this. If you like teaching and enjoy the flexibility it offers (flexibility is different from security), by all means continue. If you're trying to save money or possibly start a family, I don't think a typical teacher's salary on an E2 is a great option.

Working full-time at the minimum wage now yields a monthly salary of 1.7 million KRW. Many places can beat this, like working full-time at a Nike store, which pays about 2.1 million a month plus benefits like money for gym memberships, holiday and performance bonuses, as well as paying your share of your pension payments.

That doesn't mean anyone working for 2.1 or 2.2 is a failure or a loser, but like many other industries back home, ELT in Korea just isn't paying that well despite requiring a university degree, additional certifications and reams of paperwork. When you consider the likelihood of a position to get cut or eliminated, or just to be not that good in the first place, I think it's certainly worth considering other options in Korea or overseas.

That's the problem right there.  Ten years ago, minimum wage here was 880,000 a month or so 10 years ago, when many hakwans were paying 2.1 to 2.3 with return flight.  It's why you want to punch some of these idiot newbies in the face for accepting still low offers and keeping the wages low for everyone.  Though I think there is plenty of low wage work here.  The Great Recession had disastrous effects on Korea's ESL industry.  It killed the golden era.  If you came here 10 to 20 years ago, you could roll in the money.  I heard about Korea by word of mouth.  Folks came back to the Maritimes (cause it's the poorest part of North America) and said, go to Korea - you can make a lot of money.  It sure isn't that way anymore.  But it's the fault of foreigners for caving in 2019 for the lowball offers. 

Korea is only now recovering from the disaster the last recession had.  Some wages are slowly increasing if you search a lot of Facebook ads.  If everyone would stand firm and refuse to collectively take jobs below a certain wage, it would go up.  It is starting to now as the US economy is finally doing well in some places and folks realize it is worth more there than here now.  Also, many senior teachers have been exiting to China and other places more recently.  It is still good for me.  But it won't be for much longer.  The sharp spike in the minimum wage is fueling a lot of inflation.

Offline gogators!

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You are your own best (really only) job security. Do a good job and it will pay off.

Get a uni job, get good evaluations, keep your head down and stay out of office politics and you could stay there for quite a while. But even universities downsize.

Online zola

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You are your own best (really only) job security. Do a good job and it will pay off.

Get a uni job, get good evaluations, keep your head down and stay out of office politics and you could stay there for quite a while. But even universities downsize.
While i agree that doing a good job is your best security, it is a very limited kind of security at the end of the day.

The foreign faculty where I work regularly acahieve the highest evaluation scores in the entire university. That didn't stop a random cull 18 months ago. And I mean random in every sense of the word. Wasn't based on experience, evaluations (the teacher with the highest evaluation and who had won a prize for his achievement the previous 2 semesters, was let go), pay level. It was like they threw darts at a poster and whoever they hit they cut.

At an attempted mediation we were all told that the evaluations were merely guidelines and didn't guarantee anything. What it came down to was one guy, ONE GUY, in a position of power who just seemed to dislike foreigners and used his power to make life difficult for others. The new teachers they got weren't any better. One of them was a fuckin fruitloop who caused headaches for the university and ended up disappearing off the face of the earth.

And that's the whole thing. The randomness of it all. Could i lose my job back home? Of course. But at least i would be in an environment where i would have some control of the situation, where labour laws are adhered to and generally the writing is on the wall if your job is in danger. (Note:The US may not fall under those safe guards. Shit sounds fucked up over there for workers).

I've thought about buying an apartment here. I'd probably have to take out a mortgage to pay for part of it. Having zero security would always scare me off from doing that. Taking out a loan based on my current income, but not knowing if that situation would change year to year.

Put that together with a rapidly shrinking market (most universities student numbers will be down 50% from 2015 to 2025, and its only going to get worse. Universities are desperate for international students) and its not just lack of security based on some arsehole who has the power to decide your future, but also lack of security in the fact that the jobs just wont exisit anymore.

Also every man and his mother has or is in the process of getting a Masters online.
Kpip! - Martin 2018

Online leaponover

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Being in demand is a form of job security. I think if you're teaching English in Korea, you can be pretty sure that you could still teach English in Korea 10 years from now. Beyond that, however, there's not much security. There's no guarantee that you'll have a job a year from now as positions generally go from contract to contract. The pay is stagnant and often includes or is tied to housing, which means that changing your job means you have to move with no idea of where you'll be living, or potentially negotiate with your employer to take over a housing contract tied to your previous employer.

I think teaching is a great job and I know many great teachers here, even people without formal qualifications related to education. I just don't think it's a great bet in Korea, anymore. If you're in your early 20s or just here for a couple of years at any age, disregard this. If you like teaching and enjoy the flexibility it offers (flexibility is different from security), by all means continue. If you're trying to save money or possibly start a family, I don't think a typical teacher's salary on an E2 is a great option.

Working full-time at the minimum wage now yields a monthly salary of 1.7 million KRW. Many places can beat this, like working full-time at a Nike store, which pays about 2.1 million a month plus benefits like money for gym memberships, holiday and performance bonuses, as well as paying your share of your pension payments.

That doesn't mean anyone working for 2.1 or 2.2 is a failure or a loser, but like many other industries back home, ELT in Korea just isn't paying that well despite requiring a university degree, additional certifications and reams of paperwork. When you consider the likelihood of a position to get cut or eliminated, or just to be not that good in the first place, I think it's certainly worth considering other options in Korea or overseas.

That's the problem right there.  Ten years ago, minimum wage here was 880,000 a month or so 10 years ago, when many hakwans were paying 2.1 to 2.3 with return flight.  It's why you want to punch some of these idiot newbies in the face for accepting still low offers and keeping the wages low for everyone.  Though I think there is plenty of low wage work here.  The Great Recession had disastrous effects on Korea's ESL industry.  It killed the golden era.  If you came here 10 to 20 years ago, you could roll in the money.  I heard about Korea by word of mouth.  Folks came back to the Maritimes (cause it's the poorest part of North America) and said, go to Korea - you can make a lot of money.  It sure isn't that way anymore.  But it's the fault of foreigners for caving in 2019 for the lowball offers. 

Korea is only now recovering from the disaster the last recession had.  Some wages are slowly increasing if you search a lot of Facebook ads.  If everyone would stand firm and refuse to collectively take jobs below a certain wage, it would go up.  It is starting to now as the US economy is finally doing well in some places and folks realize it is worth more there than here now.  Also, many senior teachers have been exiting to China and other places more recently.  It is still good for me.  But it won't be for much longer.  The sharp spike in the minimum wage is fueling a lot of inflation.

Eh, as a hagwon owner I can say most successful, teaching driven hagwons are prepared to pay for someone with advanced experience in teaching.  Our hagwon certainly does.  But to think that wages will just go up based on cost of living to hire the next child that just graduated university and wants to "figure their life out" by teaching in Korea....nah, they aren't going to get any more money. 

My attitude has always been, this is an EFL teaching job and we need teachers who are able to do that.  We are willing to pay for those who actually have training or experience to teach, but those candidates aren't usually that easy to find because A) you have to wade through all the "poli sci I want to teach English now" candidates and B) they are already being taken care of by their current hagwon because they recognize their contribution and reward them as such.

That's my two cents anyway.

Online thunderlips

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Being in demand is a form of job security. I think if you're teaching English in Korea, you can be pretty sure that you could still teach English in Korea 10 years from now. Beyond that, however, there's not much security. There's no guarantee that you'll have a job a year from now as positions generally go from contract to contract. The pay is stagnant and often includes or is tied to housing, which means that changing your job means you have to move with no idea of where you'll be living, or potentially negotiate with your employer to take over a housing contract tied to your previous employer.

I think teaching is a great job and I know many great teachers here, even people without formal qualifications related to education. I just don't think it's a great bet in Korea, anymore. If you're in your early 20s or just here for a couple of years at any age, disregard this. If you like teaching and enjoy the flexibility it offers (flexibility is different from security), by all means continue. If you're trying to save money or possibly start a family, I don't think a typical teacher's salary on an E2 is a great option.

Working full-time at the minimum wage now yields a monthly salary of 1.7 million KRW. Many places can beat this, like working full-time at a Nike store, which pays about 2.1 million a month plus benefits like money for gym memberships, holiday and performance bonuses, as well as paying your share of your pension payments.

That doesn't mean anyone working for 2.1 or 2.2 is a failure or a loser, but like many other industries back home, ELT in Korea just isn't paying that well despite requiring a university degree, additional certifications and reams of paperwork. When you consider the likelihood of a position to get cut or eliminated, or just to be not that good in the first place, I think it's certainly worth considering other options in Korea or overseas.

That's the problem right there.  Ten years ago, minimum wage here was 880,000 a month or so 10 years ago, when many hakwans were paying 2.1 to 2.3 with return flight.  It's why you want to punch some of these idiot newbies in the face for accepting still low offers and keeping the wages low for everyone.  Though I think there is plenty of low wage work here.  The Great Recession had disastrous effects on Korea's ESL industry.  It killed the golden era.  If you came here 10 to 20 years ago, you could roll in the money.  I heard about Korea by word of mouth.  Folks came back to the Maritimes (cause it's the poorest part of North America) and said, go to Korea - you can make a lot of money.  It sure isn't that way anymore.  But it's the fault of foreigners for caving in 2019 for the lowball offers. 

Korea is only now recovering from the disaster the last recession had.  Some wages are slowly increasing if you search a lot of Facebook ads.  If everyone would stand firm and refuse to collectively take jobs below a certain wage, it would go up.  It is starting to now as the US economy is finally doing well in some places and folks realize it is worth more there than here now.  Also, many senior teachers have been exiting to China and other places more recently.  It is still good for me.  But it won't be for much longer.  The sharp spike in the minimum wage is fueling a lot of inflation.

Eh, as a hagwon owner I can say most successful, teaching driven hagwons are prepared to pay for someone with advanced experience in teaching.  Our hagwon certainly does.  But to think that wages will just go up based on cost of living to hire the next child that just graduated university and wants to "figure their life out" by teaching in Korea....nah, they aren't going to get any more money. 

My attitude has always been, this is an EFL teaching job and we need teachers who are able to do that.  We are willing to pay for those who actually have training or experience to teach, but those candidates aren't usually that easy to find because A) you have to wade through all the "poli sci I want to teach English now" candidates and B) they are already being taken care of by their current hagwon because they recognize their contribution and reward them as such.

That's my two cents anyway.

You make some points. But I can assure you when you hear a collective complaint against hagwon owners the foreigner owned ones usually aren't the ones being singled out. Most hagwons/after school companies are notorious for their cost cutting, illegal and immoral behavior. Knowing full well the law and labor board generally work in their favor, not always thankfully. Again if that is not your MO for your hagwon, then great.

 

Online leaponover

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Being in demand is a form of job security. I think if you're teaching English in Korea, you can be pretty sure that you could still teach English in Korea 10 years from now. Beyond that, however, there's not much security. There's no guarantee that you'll have a job a year from now as positions generally go from contract to contract. The pay is stagnant and often includes or is tied to housing, which means that changing your job means you have to move with no idea of where you'll be living, or potentially negotiate with your employer to take over a housing contract tied to your previous employer.

I think teaching is a great job and I know many great teachers here, even people without formal qualifications related to education. I just don't think it's a great bet in Korea, anymore. If you're in your early 20s or just here for a couple of years at any age, disregard this. If you like teaching and enjoy the flexibility it offers (flexibility is different from security), by all means continue. If you're trying to save money or possibly start a family, I don't think a typical teacher's salary on an E2 is a great option.

Working full-time at the minimum wage now yields a monthly salary of 1.7 million KRW. Many places can beat this, like working full-time at a Nike store, which pays about 2.1 million a month plus benefits like money for gym memberships, holiday and performance bonuses, as well as paying your share of your pension payments.

That doesn't mean anyone working for 2.1 or 2.2 is a failure or a loser, but like many other industries back home, ELT in Korea just isn't paying that well despite requiring a university degree, additional certifications and reams of paperwork. When you consider the likelihood of a position to get cut or eliminated, or just to be not that good in the first place, I think it's certainly worth considering other options in Korea or overseas.

That's the problem right there.  Ten years ago, minimum wage here was 880,000 a month or so 10 years ago, when many hakwans were paying 2.1 to 2.3 with return flight.  It's why you want to punch some of these idiot newbies in the face for accepting still low offers and keeping the wages low for everyone.  Though I think there is plenty of low wage work here.  The Great Recession had disastrous effects on Korea's ESL industry.  It killed the golden era.  If you came here 10 to 20 years ago, you could roll in the money.  I heard about Korea by word of mouth.  Folks came back to the Maritimes (cause it's the poorest part of North America) and said, go to Korea - you can make a lot of money.  It sure isn't that way anymore.  But it's the fault of foreigners for caving in 2019 for the lowball offers. 

Korea is only now recovering from the disaster the last recession had.  Some wages are slowly increasing if you search a lot of Facebook ads.  If everyone would stand firm and refuse to collectively take jobs below a certain wage, it would go up.  It is starting to now as the US economy is finally doing well in some places and folks realize it is worth more there than here now.  Also, many senior teachers have been exiting to China and other places more recently.  It is still good for me.  But it won't be for much longer.  The sharp spike in the minimum wage is fueling a lot of inflation.

Eh, as a hagwon owner I can say most successful, teaching driven hagwons are prepared to pay for someone with advanced experience in teaching.  Our hagwon certainly does.  But to think that wages will just go up based on cost of living to hire the next child that just graduated university and wants to "figure their life out" by teaching in Korea....nah, they aren't going to get any more money. 

My attitude has always been, this is an EFL teaching job and we need teachers who are able to do that.  We are willing to pay for those who actually have training or experience to teach, but those candidates aren't usually that easy to find because A) you have to wade through all the "poli sci I want to teach English now" candidates and B) they are already being taken care of by their current hagwon because they recognize their contribution and reward them as such.

That's my two cents anyway.

You make some points. But I can assure you when you hear a collective complaint against hagwon owners the foreigner owned ones usually aren't the ones being singled out. Most hagwons/after school companies are notorious for their cost cutting, illegal and immoral behavior. Knowing full well the law and labor board generally work in their favor, not always thankfully. Again if that is not your MO for your hagwon, then great.

Yeah, I get that.  I actually think it's getting better though as parents are getting more savvy and avoiding the chain money makers.  At least my neck of the woods that is happening.  We've had three well known chain hagwons fold up shop in the last 3 years, and a fourth is on life support.   I think those cutting costs and not making it about teaching are dying a slow death as it is and things are getting better because of it.  I'm not in Seoul and it's like two different worlds, Seoul and the rest of Korea.  So what I am saying may not ring true for the center of the Korean universe.  It's getting there though.

Offline gogators!

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You are your own best (really only) job security. Do a good job and it will pay off.

Get a uni job, get good evaluations, keep your head down and stay out of office politics and you could stay there for quite a while. But even universities downsize.
While i agree that doing a good job is your best security, it is a very limited kind of security at the end of the day.

The foreign faculty where I work regularly acahieve the highest evaluation scores in the entire university. That didn't stop a random cull 18 months ago. And I mean random in every sense of the word. Wasn't based on experience, evaluations (the teacher with the highest evaluation and who had won a prize for his achievement the previous 2 semesters, was let go), pay level. It was like they threw darts at a poster and whoever they hit they cut.

At an attempted mediation we were all told that the evaluations were merely guidelines and didn't guarantee anything. What it came down to was one guy, ONE GUY, in a position of power who just seemed to dislike foreigners and used his power to make life difficult for others. The new teachers they got weren't any better. One of them was a fuckin fruitloop who caused headaches for the university and ended up disappearing off the face of the earth.

And that's the whole thing. The randomness of it all. Could i lose my job back home? Of course. But at least i would be in an environment where i would have some control of the situation, where labour laws are adhered to and generally the writing is on the wall if your job is in danger. (Note:The US may not fall under those safe guards. Shit sounds fucked up over there for workers).

I've thought about buying an apartment here. I'd probably have to take out a mortgage to pay for part of it. Having zero security would always scare me off from doing that. Taking out a loan based on my current income, but not knowing if that situation would change year to year.

Put that together with a rapidly shrinking market (most universities student numbers will be down 50% from 2015 to 2025, and its only going to get worse. Universities are desperate for international students) and its not just lack of security based on some arsehole who has the power to decide your future, but also lack of security in the fact that the jobs just wont exisit anymore.

Also every man and his mother has or is in the process of getting a Masters online.
Yes, a new administration or administrator can decide to clean house or make things so tough on the veteran staff that they decide to leave. And some universities are, as I implied, downsizing.

You have to do what you can to be seen as a valuable contributor so that they will want to retain you. But you're right, nothing is guaranteed.