Ms. A, a telemarketer with a call center at a distribution company was a regular employee of a mid-sized IT company eight years ago. After she had her baby, she quit work because she found it too difficult to continue work while caring for her newborn baby. Her husband’s salary alone was soon not enough to meet their living expenses and their child’s education fees. After her child was older, Ms. A began looking for employment, but no one wanted to hire her. Ms. A eventually found an advertisement for a job with the same hours that she had eight years ago, but for half the salary. What’s worse is that the job was a contracted job, and the contract renewal was always uncertain.
As the economic recession in Korea continues, many people now say that the most important asset is neither a house nor savings, but rather a “job.” It comes as no surprise then that the number of married women who are seeking jobs is rapidly increasing. In particular, the number of women over the age of 60 seeking employment is significantly increasing. It remains difficult for women who have left their jobs to raise children or for other purposes to re-enter the work force by gaining quality employment.
|The first“Married Immigrant Women Cooperatives”||Photo of a meeting of married women immigrants|
After completing the Software Instructor Course at the Songpa Women’s Research Center, Ms. B, who once worked as a freelancer and housewife, is now an instructor of IoT at an elementary school after-school activity program. She now earns a living teaching children how to use IoT in their daily lives. It was the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG)’s launching of job and training programs for women that enabled her to acquire the skills needed to land the job. SMG has identified four sustainable high-quality job types for women that meet future industry demnds, and has launched training programs, collectively titled the ‘Women’s Promising Job Training Program’, to equip women with the skills needed in each sector.
|2016 SMG Women’s Promising Job Training Programs||2016 SMG Women’s Job Fair|
The SMG designated the Jungbu Women’s Resources Development Center as an operator of its women’s job training program, and entrusted the center with the overall training process, from education to employment support following the completion of the program. The Women’s Promising Jobs Training program is part of SMG’s job creation support plan for women whose careers were disrupted due to childrearing, and incorporates feedback obtained from the “2015 Seoul Employment Trail” event.
One of the designated “four promising jobs for women” is that of an applications and software pre-production tester. The job entails testing and detecting the problems and/or deficiencies of mobile applications and software before the products are officially launched. The job of a pet sitter, another selected promising job, involves taking care of pets when their owners are absent due to business trips, traveling, or other reasons.
The third promising job selected by the SMG is that of a sleep consultant, which is a person who provides personalized, tailored consultations for people regarding their individual constitutions, sleeping habits, and bedding environment so those suffering from sleep disorders can finally enjoy a healthy, good night’s sleep. The fourth and final promising job is that of an IoT instructor who teaches children how to use IoT in their daily lives and handle IoT products without needing special expertise.
The SMG has already recruited trainees for the aforementioned four promising job types and has conducted specialized training programs that combine educational theories and practical skills. Following the results of a pilot project, the SMG has continued to improve the program to meet the real-life needs of each targeted industry. In the future, the city government plans to continue to broaden the scope of the program.
The promising job types for 2016 were selected by the SMG by having industry experts assess which job types most likely required or favored female workers and had promising futures (i.e. those that were expected to require an increased number of workers domestically). During the assessment of potential jobs, emphasis was placed on job sustainability rather than job salary or employment type.
|Students learn theory in the International Medical Tourism Coordinator Course||Field training for tourism interpreter guides|
The SMG is also making very real efforts to support the employment of female marriage immigrants. In 2015, Ms. Altantuya, a Mongolian marriage immigrant, participated in the International Medical Tourism Coordinator training course run by the Seobu Women’s Resources Development Center of the SMG. Today, Ms. Altantuya is currently working for an orthopedic hospital as a Mongolian Medical Tourism Coordinator.
|Practice Session for participants of the Flower, Candle, & Fragrance Shop program||Training for work as a postpartum care specialist|
The “Job Support for Female Marriage Immigrants” project of the SMG aims at promoting the stability of multicultural families living in Seoul and the economic independence of female marriage immigrants. The “Employment and Entrepreneurship Training Program for Female Marriage Immigrants” has been in operation since 2010, and in 2015, the SMG also began the operation of nine educational programs to equip female marriage immigrants with the skills needed to find employment as office workers, beauty and skincare specialists, and workers at flower, candle, and fragrance shops. A total of 135 trainees have completed these courses so far, and 52 program participants have successfully found employment in their field of training.
The eight educational programs offered by the SMG provide women with training as postpartum care specialists, foreign language counselors, international medical tourism coordinators, tourism interpreter guides, sewing assistants, and B-to-C open market entrepreneurs and global sellers. Of these different job types, the job of international medical tourism coordinator is becoming increasingly essential to medical industries seeking to attract foreign patients. Due to the lack of existing professionals in this field, this job in particular holds much promise for female marriage immigrants who speak foreign languages.
Another particularly promising job is that of a tourism interpreter guide; in recognition of the increased demand for workers in this field, the SMG has also increased the number of program trainees from 55 to 85 in 2015. The Tourism Interpreter Guide course helps female marriage immigrants who speak other languages train for work as professional tour guides. This program is open to female marriage immigrants from China and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia).
The aforementioned employment and entrepreneurship training programs are held from April to November. Interested applicants can fill out an application during the application period by visiting the educational organization for their relevant program.
For more information regarding program participation, please call the educational organization relevant to your course of interest or visit the Seoul multicultural families website, “HANULTARI” (www.mcfamily.or.kr).
The SMG also operates an “Employment Success Mentoring System” for female marriage immigrants residing in Seoul who are experiencing difficulty finding employment due to cultural and environmental differences. Through the program, immigrant women who have successfully gained employment are invited to share their job-seeking know-how with others. As a result of these free employment and entrepreneurship programs that promote the strength and professional development of female marriage immigrants, a total of 52 program trainees were able to land jobs in 2015. Eight educational programs are currently underway.
|Employment mentoring seminar for female marriage immigrants||Employment counseling with recruitment consultants|
Through the SMG “Employment Success Mentoring System”, female marriage immigrants who are successful employed in target job sectors mentor others seeking employment. Mentors in the program share their experiences and act as a role model to others, teaching their mentees how to prepare for employment and sharing educational tips to sharpen their skills and gain expertise. Mentoring sessions are conducted by organizing mentors and mentees into several teams and conducting personal coaching session online and offline. Program participants are also members of a web portal community, through which they can share questions and answers related to employment and arrange regular offline meetings. Offline meetings are typically held at least once a month so that members can share information in person.