Work Culture World Tour:
South Korea

In this working world, some employees care a lot about giving gifts after vacations. Some are addicted to overtime, and some really, really enjoy complaining that it’s too hot (or cold) in their offices. We’ll explore these unwritten customs and many more on our ’round-the-world video curation tour of work cultures. Join us, watch out for us on our social channels (#CultureCoordinates) and let us know what these videos get right–or don’t–about working in different countries.

Our first stop is the peninsular nation of South Korea, renowned for electronics giants Samsung, LG and Hyundai, and for creating massive global pop sensations like BTS and Psy.

It’s all about hierarchy…

…and never saying no to a company dinner:


Fast Culture Facts for South Korea:


  • 51 million – with a population density 10 times the global average


  • 27 million employed – labor participation rate slightly higher than in the United States. Women make up 42 percent of the workforce.


  • Asia’s fifth largest economy, and the 15th largest in the world. South Korea’s GDP is $1.6 trillion – about 2.6 percent of the world economy. Its biggest industries are electronics, automobiles, telecom equipment and shipping. But South Korea’s services sector is the largest employer and makes up around 60 percent of the nation’s GDP.

Workforce Diversity:

  • In terms of gender equality, South Korea has been deemed one of worst nations for women to work in the OECD, but the government is making some attempts to remedy the disparities. The workforce is very homogenous: 99 percent of workers are native Korean. Some leaders feel more immigration is needed to counteract the nation’s low birth rates and boost its economy. South Korea does not criminalize homosexual activity but lacks non-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people in the workplace.

NEXT STOP: Finland