Korea has been one of the best performing economies in the region in recent years, and global multinationals compete strongly for market share here against the local 'chaebol' conglomerates. Korea is famous for its combative national unions, which can drive a wedge between business HR plans and the collective will of its workforce. So finding the right HR talent that has the appropriate Industrial Relations experience for the Korea market and yet is also internationally-minded tends to be challenging. And as with Japan, the language barrier in Korea can also be an inhibiting factor in translating global HR policies into the country.
Multinational corporations will therefore often invest heavily in high-potential HR talent by relocating them regionally or internationally before returning them to Korea to take on HR leadership roles. This select group of HR talent is highly sought-after, but most will reward these opportunities with a very high degree of employer loyalty. HR Heads in Korea usually report functionally into regional HR Heads in Singapore or Hong Kong, or into North Asia sub-regional HR Heads in Japan or China. The strongest businesses for international HR roles in Korea are in the IT & Telecommunications and Industrial & Manufacturing sectors, although most industry sectors are well represented in Korea.