Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads




It is not uncommon for advertisers in our Jobs Offered section to include preferences based on gender, age, race, or physical appearance/fitness.  While my personal feelings about this are pretty clear, the question of how to create and implement a site policy is more complex.  

To begin with, there is the question of imposing standards which are considered 'legal and ethical' in some countries, but not necessarily here. Additionally, if we implement a policy of not allowing such preferences to be stated, we don't eliminate the actual preference, we just prevent that information from being made public.  The hiring bias will still be in place and applicants will have less information upon which to base their decision. 

Implementing any such policy would be a managerial challenge - creating a lot more work on our part and no doubt leading to some blurry lines.  Still I think it's a question that should be addressed publicly and a Koreabridge policy that should be clarified one way or another. 

Please comment below. As always, all perspectives welcome, but please keep it civil.
Oct. 2013 Update:  As this was brought up recently on our Facebook page, the discusion may be revisited. Due to a site glitch, we lost results from the 2011 poll.  Please feel free to vote again. 

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

The 'legal and ethical' questions are two separate ones. If there are indeed any legal questions, the lawyer would be the first person to ask. As to the ethical question, those seem to change from one person to the next, from one year to the next. Suffice it to say there are far more conflicts and shades of gray than any policy is able to guide.

Perhaps a system that plays it like a matchmaking site - a 'required' section, and an 'ideal' section. Allow it to be freeform, with the understanding that it's best for all that that both boxes have some content. The hiring bias will be there whether it's stated or not - any expat in the country knows that. I'd rather not waste my time applying for a job looking for a woman, for example. 

We're neither in a position to change the moral and ethical standards of the country, nor is it our place. It constitutes a business decision, then, to offer the services to meet your clients and visitors needs.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

As Chris mentioned, we are well aware of the discriminatory and unethical practices by employers in SK. And it's probably fair to say that many of us have had our share of personal experience with this. My first thought when reading the original post? No rules...if an employer is so daft as to write their advert in a way that crosses the subjective "ethical line", I'd hope no one would respond to the ad. 

In fact, one ad just popped up today about a "Good-looking Caucasion lady".... wow..let me find my skirt. To make matters worse, the pay was horrendous. Somebody call the Ghostbusters.



Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

They want a white female-so what! I am more offended that jobs get posted on here that are

better suited for squaters than university graduates and that we cannot even comment on them.


Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I think KB should ban job ads that advertise 2.1-2.2mil for 40 hours a week. Perhaps this will force recruiters to tell schools it's time for a pay raise after 10 years! I think I'm not alone here. When I came to Korea in 2008, jobs where advertised at 2.3+ benefits....and over 3 years later...they're 2.1-2.2 and more hours? I would go as far as saying that Recuiters have raised their commission and are taking it out on the teacher's salaries :P

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I can beat that. I first came here in 2002, and was paid 2 million. After a year, I continued at the same school, and got a raise to 2.1 million. I'm back in 2013, and the pay is the same. You can't be expected to be paid according to your qualifications. Anyone with half a brain can teach these classes. But having said that, there are good teachers who care about their students, and bad teachers who just want to go out drinking every night. The job might be the same as 10 years ago, but the cost of living isn't. It really bugs me when I see a jod ad for 'female only', but at least it saves me time from applying. As much as we being foreigners don't like a lot of the way Korean culture is, (dirty, their driving, lack of manners) we're never going to change it. It's going to take Koreans to change it.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I find hiring criteria based on appearance to be repugnant and if I saw a job calling for a fat ugly man I would refuse to apply due to that reason.

It is repugnant but I would rather know their criteria to save myself from applying.

The other solution is to charge more for advertisements that are racist, or sexist and teach them through the market mechanism.

"When in Rome, do better than the Romans do."

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

Simple truth, they are "simple" and that is the truth.

That is what you are getting when a post asks for a "white person", a "Canadian", a woman or a man.

I want that kind of advertisement to continue. I would encourage clear honesty from the employer about exactly what they want. It tells me exactly where not to apply.

The last thing you want to do is be bound in a 1 year contract to anyone who is that small minded...


​As for pay, I find it interesting that several recruiters who used advertise 35 an hour are now at 30, who is taking these jobs? 4-5 hours in a row is not bad, but 2 with driving... traffic, no pension, no housing, no airfare... not reasonable...

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

Of course no preferences should be allowed.  Joshuabeagle is right no adds for any money for those who pay less than 2.3 per month or less than 35 per hour  even if there are 3-5 hours in a row.   I would prefer no adds allowed for those who pay less than 2.5 per month.  

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I'm in the camp of allowing employers to post their preferences. It may be offensive, but not allowing them to post preferences won't actually change the employers' biases, it will simply waste the time of applicants who don't fit the preference.

Restricting ads based on pay rate is absurd. Websites don't determine pay rates, nor do the people on the sites who complain about rates. The market determines rates of pay. Setting minimum pay that advertises can offer won't raise anyone's salary; it will only eliminate ads. Good jobs with good pay don't need to post classified ads--they get filled through word-of-mouth networks.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I am not sure why anyone thinks that asking the website administrator to limit posts to those that make teachers happy will have any affect on the going rate of teaching...

I am sure that none of us would like to take less than 40k an hour, or if we had our choice 150k would be great.

But thinking that Kbridge has any control is simply laughable. 


So it would look like...

Jeff agrees to change the policy to not accept adds that post less than 35k or 2.5, Kbridge simply has 1/3-2/3's less adds. Or at 2.5 95% less adds.

Teachers not accepting sub standard jobs changes things, not a websight... all this would do, is force teachers to contact recruiters directly, or bring about a new websight.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I agree with Crudler.

Until the economy improves back home and people have a reason not to leave their country, salaries will stay in the low 2s. Realistically, the only people who are complaining/frustrated about our low stagnant salaries are the people who have been here more than one year.
I have friends back home who are seriously considering coming to Korea to teach, and one that already has. To her, 2.2 a month and a chance to experience a new country was better than her 40 hour a week low paying job back home; It's hard to blame her (even though it's people like her that are too blame).

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

You can make more money back home waitering than here. 2.2mil is not even 2g a month. I am not complaining as I like my job and situation but coming here now is not like when coming here back in 2003 when 2mil was worth almost $2400. New peeps do not realize how lousy the conditions here are now but relative to back home I guess they can seem okay. Shows how sad the times are everywhere, though, I guess.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

"back in 2003 when 2mil was worth almost $2400"

In 2003, the won was weaker than it is now.

Two million won hasn't been worth US$2400 since about 1996 (at that time, typical hagwon salaries were about 1.2 to 1.4 million). It got close in 2007 when 2 million won was worth about $2100.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I came here in 2003. 2mil WON was about 2300Canadian-2002 it was better. Hard to remember. Now it is under 1800. I guess I should have said Canadian. Perhaps American dollar you are thinking. The Canadian dollar was not as high back then.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

This is Korea, folks.  Some of us have lived here long enough to understand that this is a shallow and superficial culture that we live in.  Still, it's not our country, we're just guests here. 

I've talked to countless foreign guys who tell me they "prefer Asian/Korean women", and guys who go out of their way in a conversation to identify their partner as their "Korean girlfriend/wife" (without even bothering to say her name).  Is anyone going to get all bent out of shape over that? 

They're outsourcing for Western (Caucasian) English speakers.  That's what most of us are here for.

To quote Samuel L. Jackson from A Time To Kill:

"Well, you are white and I'm black. See Jake, you think just like them, that's why I picked you; you are one of them , don't you see?. Oh, you think you ain't because you eat in Claude's and you are out there trying to get me off on TV talking about black and white, but the fact is you are just like all the rest of them. When you look at me, you don't see a man, you see a black man."

That's how the world works, people.  Sad, but true.  I'd love to see the day when suddenly we're all color blind to race...but that's just a pipe dream.


Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I think a few of the people really have no idea what the hagwon job market is like in Busan these days. They probably haven't applied for a hagwon job in a while or are frustrated that they can't make what they want to make so I understand why they are complaining. However, their logic is way off.


It would be ridiculous to ban jobs under 2.5 million or 40,000/hr. Really, how stupid is that? That would be like banning job wanted ads from anyone that doesn't have a teaching license. It would eliminate 95+% of the job ads and people would just go visit a different website. There are so many esl websites popping up these days so how is PusanWeb going to change the pay rate?


Also, does anyone here have any idea how recruiting works? Recruiters don't set the pay, the schools do. 2 years ago, a school wants a teacher and they get 1 or 2 applicants. Maybe they don't get any applicants so they have to raise the salary to 2.3 or 2.4 to find someone. Maybe the hours are longer or the location isn't so great, so they raise the salary to 2.5 or 2.6 until they hire someone. These days, schools probably get 10 or 20 applicants so why would they be raising the pay? That is why they are lowering the pay as someone will take the job for less.


And limiting what can be posted or not in a job ad is not going to change who gets hired. I also agree that it will save time. If a school wants a woman working there, they are not going to hire a male teacher. It just means you have all these men applying to the job and they won't get hired. If I'm looking for a job andthere are only 5 schools that will potentially hire me, I want to be talkign to these schools. I don't want to be wasting my time applying to 20 schools because of some sense of political correctness.


And people have to remember that most of these jobs are regular hagwon teaching jobs. They are like an entry level position at a company, like working in the mail room. It doesn't matter to the school if you are new at it or if you've been doing it for 40 years, the work is the same. A lot of people complain that the've been teaching so many years in Busan but the pay hasn't changed. Well, that's because the job hasn't changed.


But like a previous post said, the pay is not going to change because of a PusanWeb posting policy. The hiring practice is not going to change either.


Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads


Surprisingly enough, hiring based on gender is completely illegal here in Korea. Our company wanted to hire an executive assistant but could not specify male or female as that would put us offside.


I don’t know about the legal ramifications (if Pweb has any responsibilities), but forget cultural issues and follow your beliefs. If we could not advertise a gender preference in the mainstream media, it is rather obvious.


Cultural sensitivities are important but if you don’t follow your heart, follow the law.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

In an ideal world a candidate "should" be chosen based on qualifications not age, gender, race, etc. Now that being said, I'd much prefer the jobs offered section to include gender preference so I'm not wasting my time applying to multiple female only positions. Which seems to be the case lately. I rather be told the truth about a position, even if the truth is bias. This will result in a more efficient application process. I agrees that it's discriminatory, but for the sake of saving time would much rather put up with it to increase efficiencies in job searching. Any thoughts?

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

Honestly, we could complain all we want here and make as many changes as it takes to satisfy everyone but the fact doesn't change in what hiring preferences are for these employers.

Koreans are even resorting to cosmetic surgery, skin care, etc. to get jobs...seriously.  It's a superficial country and culture and that I don't see changing.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

I think it's better to know up front what an employer wants as you will then kmow exactly where you stand in relation to what he/she is looking for. This means that it's not a waste of your time or theirs.

Korea is a country where political correctness/incorrectness is hidden behind the innate, thousands of years, DNA embeded thing called "face". This means they say one thing but mean another, they will always be nice and polite, but underneath they know exactly what they want/how they feel. Koreans as with most Asians are never straight up or direct it's not in their culture.

The truth of the matter (and this is a generalisation) is that the majority of recruiters/employers ideally want 20-30 year old blond, blue-eyed, attractive females who speak with a North American accent. Life experience, teaching experience, >40/50 years,  appropriate qualifications, non-caucasian, coming from a native English speaking country other than US or Canada and being unattractive in any way count for nothing or against you.

So when it comes to hiring parameters I'd rather all the cards were on the table.

Re: Feedback Wanted: 'Hiring Preferences' in Job ads

We all know what the requirements mean anyway:


1.  Female only - Sexual Harrassment in the workplace;

2.  Gyopo only - We plan to underpay you because you aren't white; Bilingual Kyopo only - a) We may sell English classes, but they are so ineffective, we don't speak English; b) You know the language, so you must know the culture, expect lot's of unpaid overtime;

3.  Filipino F2 (sic) only - The pay is appalling;

4. (Insert Nationality) only - Our hagwon doesn't have a curriculum in place so the parents complain if you aren't (Insert Nationality)

5. Male only - The boss needs someone to go drinking with;

6.  F - visa only - we are too disorganised to keep an E2 we sponsor;

7.  Business Class less than w60k per hour - we hire illegal E2s;

8.  Part-time class (must commit to 12 months) - We won't actually give you a living, and it's a terrible job, but you must stay so that I pretend that you work for me full-time and make me look more prestigious to others;

9.  F-visa (must supply notorised criminal checks) - a) you may think you're teaching adults but we'll take anyone with cash; b) <employer name deleted> are racist pigs, my Korean wife never had to submit criminal record checks to work in Busan hagwons;

10. Urgent - The last teacher ran due to bad conditions or a failure to receive their pay; Avoid at all costs unless they agree to pay you daily.


You really can learn a lot by allowing the posters to post whatever they want.  Unfortunately what I've learnt is I don't want to work for a lot of posters on here.