Delivering a Novel Approach to Job Hunting in Korea

Party flags and balloons hung in a café where young people were revelling in the music. Not exactly what you would expect at a traditional job fair, but that describes the scene at the recent Job DongSan, which loosely translates to “Job Recruitment Party” in the Korean language. The event was jointly organised by YouthHub Korea and Seoul Social Economy Centre at the Roh Rang Café.

Six social enterprises—Current Korea, Bridge Mobile, Sul Fun, GamgiDukgi, Touch for Good and Zenny Closet—collaborated at this Microsoft-sponsored event to deliver a fun and innovative forum to engage with young job seekers. As South Korean youth have limited knowledge of the rewarding job opportunities available in social entrepreneurship, Job DongSan provided the ideal platform for these small and mid-sized organisations that create self-sustaining social programmes to showcase themselves and network with job applicants.

 Eung Tak Lee, Deputy Department Head of Current Korea, presents the job description and values his company is looking out for.

More than 110 job seekers and HR professionals gathered to check out what was brewing at Roh Rang Café, a popular destination for young people in Seoul. The warm and cosy atmosphere of the venue helped facilitate an open discussion between the participants and prospective employers.

“Who says job fairs can’t be fun and packed with enjoyable activities?” asked Young Kyoung Kim, Leader of YouthHub Korea. “With the staging of Job DongSan, we put a new spin on how job events can be organised to appeal to a new generation of job seekers. Through this novel approach to recruitment and job matching, the participants were encouraged to express their aspirations more confidently and explore available job opportunities.”

The event kicked into full gear with a cover band performing the latest pop hits, and the venue was soon packed with young people eager to learn more about what a career in social services has in store for them.

 Jobseekers engaged in conversations with potential employers in a fun and casual setting.

Job seekers were encouraged to dress in a manner that reflected their personalities, instead of formal office wear. The youth directly approached the participating organisations regarding available jobs, while job managers offered in-depth information about their companies and the diverse job requirements.

“It was good to receive plenty of relevant information on the job positions. Moreover, I was able to gain a better understanding of the kind of employees that social enterprises are looking for today,” said one of the job seekers.

Job DongSan is part of the “Bring IT to Youth” programme, a Microsoft YouthSpark initiative that strives to open opportunities for job placement and start-ups in the social innovation field. Organised in conjunction with nonprofit organisation Beautiful Foundation, Bring IT to Youth is also provides educational talks on essential skills to help improve the employability of Korean youth.

“The low youth employment rate of 24 percent shows that a large proportion of our young people are not matched to the right jobs. Yet many small and medium-sized enterprises in South Korea are facing a manpower shortage, and this is especially true for social start-ups that lack the level of exposure received by large corporations. Job DongSan serves to help address this challenge, and gives social enterprises an added boost to attract bright, young South Koreans,” said Young Hoon Kim, Director of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Korea.

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