South Korea is a country that has embraced both domestic and international growth leading it to becoming the fourth largest economy in Asia and the tenth largest in the world. It’s economy is primarily driven (both domestically and internationally) by the Transportation, Energy, Tourism, and Infrastructure Industries – most significantly by its biggest sectors of Shipbuilding, Electronics, AutoMobility, Mining, Construction, Tourism, and Defense. South Korea is made up of eight (8) Provinces, one (1) special self-governing Province, six (6) metropolitan Cities (self-governing Cities that are not part of any Province), one (1) special City, and one (1) special self-governing City. The 18th and 19th centuries brought the Industrial Revolution and, in the roughly sixty (60) years post the Korean War, South Korea has grown to become the ninth-largest exporter and importer in the world. While there is a tremendous geographical spread in South Korea, Cities and businesses are joined together by one of the best Transportation and Electronics Infrastructures in the world (including the world’s fastest internet connection speeds and densest high-speed railway network). Given the very nationalistic (with global aspirations) DNA in South Korea, it is critical for business people to understand, respect, and, quite often, admire the cultural aspects of doing business in South Korea. Maccabeus understands and respects those differences having worked directly in South Korea for over thirty (30) years. In AutoMobility, for example, Maccabeus has participated in meetings and projects at various South Korean OEM and Supplier Companies in South Korea; including with SsangYong Motors (쌍용자동차 주식회사), Renault Samsung Motors (르노코리아자동차), Daewoo (대우), KIA Motors (기아), and Hyundai Motor Company (현대자동차) – among many others. We’ve also worked with most Automotive OEM’s in South Korea and their corresponding Suppliers doing business there.
Part of what makes South Korea so unique is the common cultural thread that runs throughout the various Cities and Provinces. While there are differences, there is a strong national foundation “uniting” all of South Korea (especially in regards to its relationship and history with North Korea). Thus, doing business in each is very similar whether one is working in Seoul (the capital of South Korea), Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, or Gwangju. These cultural similarities (with minor differences) are critical for Companies and Clients to both consider and understand when they are hiring external Executive Talent – regardless of where a Company and/or Client are located from a headquarters’s perspective – including the added geographical factor and how that relates both to the overall Company’s, Client’s, and Executive’s cultural make-up.
Culture, Culture, Culture
Realtors and related real estate investors will regularly talk about the most important decision for making an real estate investment is “location, location, location”. At Maccabeus, we say executive recruiting comes down to three (3) words, as well – “culture, culture, culture”. Specifically, the culture of the Company (or the client), the Executive, and the City, Province, etc.
Again, while there are some differences in how to recruit City by City and Province by Province, the corresponding South Korean culture and heritage is somewhat consistent. So, as a result, International Recruiting Firms and expatriated Executives need to have a profound respect for and understanding of the South Korean culture (and how that translates into doing business in South Korea and how South Korea does business abroad). And without understanding the culture aspects of doing business in South Korea in the various Cities and Provinces, even the best “functional” Executive Recruiters will get it “wrong”.
Understanding all of these recruiting complexities is absolutely critical in Executive search. At Maccabeus, we understand the South Korean City and Provincial similarities and differences and how to apply those unique qualities across the cultural aspects of both Companies (Clients) and Executives (and their Families). We have recruited across the broad spectrum that is South Korea. We know the cultural differences between the South Korean and international Corporations and their corresponding Executive make-up. And we know the differences not just from an Executive Recruitment Firm’s perspective, but also as Executives who have considered relocations and/or new career challenges directly for ourselves and our Families. While we have counseled hundreds of Executives to not take an opportunity based on their concerns around cultural differences (based on location and/or the company), our Partners and Staff have also declined offers ourselves as Industry Executives – opportunities that just weren’t the right “fit” for either ourselves and/or our Families. We get it.
Finding the right Executives takes a tenacity to see through the surface of experiences and to look into the intangibles behind who a leader really is as a person. To get to know the companies, clients, Executives, Families, etc. behind the search project. Maccabeus LLC is committed to and has a strong track record of recruiting and placing Executives across a diverse landscape of industries and locations.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you and your Board.
“Love is the beauty of the soul.”St. Augustine