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

Tech-savvy candidates preferred by businesses wanting to accelerate pandemic-triggered digitalization, says Manpower Korea

Kyle Jeon, Director of Client Relationship Management Group of Manpower Korea (Manpower Korea)
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 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 -- either undergo 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 works.

“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 manufacturing sector. In particular, the semiconductor sector started to hire many engineers to tackle the global chip shortages,” Jeon said.

Aside from IT sector that has always been the center for hiring developers, food and fashion industries in retail business sector has 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.

Following the new trend, Manpower Korea has established 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 the current market trend and means to hire best candidates at low costs that fit the client company’s life cycle.

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

By Byun Hye-jin (hyejin2@heraldcorp.com)
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