What to Expect When You Start Working In a Korean Factory?

After passing the exam, taking the medical examination, going through all the troubles of skills test and never ending waiting and hoping for the best to come, the final reward is not the working visa to South Korea. While it is an accomplishment to be selected and awarded a working visa, it is not yet the final destination. In fact, it's just the first part of the game. Your next concern would be all about the kind of company where you are going to work, the attitude of the boss, your workmates and the kind of job.

It is sure exciting and at the same time challenging to work in South Korea, here are some things you need to know about working in a Korean factory. These guidelines will help you set your level of expectation and will also give you a clue about the nature of work.

1. Most Companies offer free food, but...........

.....it's all Korean Food!!! Don't expect adobo, or sinigang or any western food on the table because no way they will offer it for free. Korean food is healthy, spicy and some may best suit your taste bud, but there are also strange Korean food that you may encounter for the first time. It really depends on the menu, the only sure thing is, most of the time, they offer just Korean food. So you better prepare yourself familiarizing and learning to eat kimchi and other "pancham" because it's the staple in a korean dining table. After all, it's for free, and you have to be thankful for free food, right?

And one more thing, don't forget to say "Chal Mogeutseumnidda" to the sikdang ahjumma after every meal, regardless of whether you like the food or not.

2.Most companies offer free "apartments", and.....

....not all "apartments" are equal. You will be lucky if your company will provide a rented apartment in some cool tall buildings complete with amenities. Most companies provide a container van converted into "kisuksa" as your home while working for them. Living conditions really depend on the people you are living with. Most kisuksa are complete with necessary appliances like for cooking, washing machine and maybe television. Every summer, kisuksa built with container vans maybe too hot, so you need to buy yourself some electric fan to cool you off. Most of the time, there are heaters installed to for the winter season. Some kisuksa have wifi, but you can subscribe to a telecom company if you want to own a pocket wifi for youself.

And oh by the way, most kisuksa are located just beside the factory, so it's just literally one tumbling away. You can even wake up at 7:30 am and start working at 8:00 AM.

3. Rooms are shared and no bed.

You can't just give your diva demand to own a room all for yourself because usually, rooms are shared by 2 or more people. Sometimes, you share it with fellow filipino co worker, but sometimes you share a room with other nationalities. Rooms generally have no bed, everybody sleeps on the floor.

4. Be The Jack of All Trades and Master of everything

While there are designated workstations and responsibilities for every worker in the factory, you must prepare yourself to do other kinds of work aside from what is assigned to you. Set in your mind that you must learn to do everything and accept the challenge of trying out other work assigned by your sajangnim. You may need to operate different types of machines, you may be asked to clean the toilet, or clean the machines, or sweep the floor, or even farm your boss' garden. Just do what you can and what is asked of you, just as long as they pay you right, then it's good.

5. Everybody is polite, you should too...

The first thing you should do the moment you enter the factory is to bow and greet every people you meet. Whether the person is your boss, or the wife of your boss, or even co workers and janitors, bow and greet. It would not take your pride away from you because it is a custom in Korea to pay respect to every person by bowing and greeting them "Annyeonghaseyo". Put that in your mind if you don't want people to think that you are rude.

6. Break time? Forget about it...

Time is too precious for the Korean boss because they know thye pay you for every single second you work in the company. There's no rule or law about breaktime, so if you have no breaktime, or if they only give you 10 minutes breaktime, no more complains please.

7. You may work longer hours

Factory work in Korea is not just an 8-5 job. Sometimes, you need to work beyond the regular working hours. For how long? It depends, the minimum overtime work is usually 2.5 hours but it can be extended up to 5.5 hours. So how does 14 hours of work everyday sound? Don' worry, they ought to pay you hourly for your overtime work.

8. Alien words, warning....

At the first day of work, you will feel like singing a "despacito" song, you can sing a long, but you can't totally understand it. Don't worry, it's normal, textbook language is different from daily conversation language, so you are not expected to really understand Korean on your first day. Korean language can be learned as time goes by, it might be difficult at first, but try your best to converse and understand those alien words, and soon enough, you will be speaking it too.

9. Holiday Bonus? Don't expect that much.

Most companies give bonus during the three big holidays in a year. First is the Seollal(February), Second is Summer vacation (July or August) and third is Chuseok (September). If the company is generous enough, they also give during the regular New Year's day, Christmas Day and even during Children's day. But as I've said, don't expect that much, because bonus maybe in the form of a box of spam, a set of shampoo and if you are lucky enough, an envelope of cash. Bonus depends on the generosity of the company, and if you receive some, no matter how small or how big it is, just be thankful for it. OK?

10. Deductions on Salary

Just like any other companies in the world, your payslip may show the gross and the net income. Yes, there are deductions and you must know these deductions. You will be deducted for your Kukmin or NPS insurance, health insurance, taxes and maybe a small amount (around 50,000 won) for your contribution for eletricity, water and gas at the Kisuksa. It is important you check your payslip during salary day so you will know your deductions.

I am sure there are other things aside from the 10 I mentioned above you need to know as a first time foreign worker in South korea. So far, these are the essential guidelines you must remember in setting your expectations of working in South Korea.


  1. is factory worker female AND male IN korea sleep together on there designated rooms for employee?

    1. Of course not! They can stay in the same house but they sleep in different rooms

  2. Sir, I have few questions. May I ask for your email address please? Thank you!

  3. are there factory works in jeju?

  4. To estimate the time from the moment of orientation until the success of application up to departure---how many months does it ( aplication journey) usually take? Thanks.

    1. depends on the needs of the employer who hired you.. you ca n wait up to one year


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