Robert Walters Korea Releases its Outlook for 2023 Hiring Market

A call to enhance retention efforts for employers with high rate of professionals considering a career change by the end of 2023

On January 26, specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters Korea announced the launch of its digital "Salary Survey 2023," which summarises hiring trends and salary levels for thousands of roles across 31 countries including South Korea.

The new comprehensive summary of salary levels allows employers to benchmark teams’ salaries and benefits packages against the industry standard, as well for employees looking for salary negotiation or job searching. It also provides an accurate overview for employers to help the business to be prepared in an increasingly competitive landscape for talent recruitment and retention.


Rising cost of living and high interest rates play a crucial role in decision-making among employers and professionals


Inflationary pressure, the rising cost of living and the unrelenting climb in the US dollar’s value developing against a backdrop of slow wage growth resulted in increased demands for changing jobs and higher salaries. As a result, competition for talent is intensifying with better ‘pay’ and ‘benefits’ in fields and roles where there is high demand for talent.

Among professionals surveyed:

  • 70% are more likely to request a pay rise from their employers over the next 12 months.
  • 55% say they are likely to seek a new role if they do not receive a pay rise above the rate of inflation by the end of 2023.


Among companies surveyed:

  • 57% of employers plan to offer average salary increases above inflation.
  • 71% of companies surveyed expect the rising cost of living will make it harder to retain talent.


Employee retention will grow crucial for businesses as talent shortage deepens


Many companies in Korea are facing a talent shortage, and the effective job vacancy rate, which had been on a downward trend in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is continuing an upward trend in 2023. Companies will need to adjust their recruiting strategy to retain Gen Z talents who are more likely to change jobs looking for opportunities where they can find a purpose in their work and build upon their work experience rather than for a higher salary alone.

Among professionals surveyed:

  • 54% of professionals surveyed say they plan to change jobs by the end of 2023, with 34% already looking for a new opportunity to move jobs.
  • When asked what they value most in an employer, nearly 70% of professionals chose “colleagues and culture that inspire employees to do their best,” followed by “excellent compensation and benefits” (45%) and “job security” (40%).


Among companies surveyed:

  • 76% of employers are concerned with talent shortage.
  • “Lack of candidates” has ranked as the number one challenge for employers for the last two years.
  • Over 90% of companies surveyed recognise that employee retention remains a concern.



Junwon Choi, Country Director of Robert Walters Korea commented: “Moving forward from a pandemic-driven work life into a newer normal in 2023, accompanied with a rising cost of living and a fear of recession, professionals must focus on upskilling and reskilling to keep up with demand. In response to increased demand for changing jobs and higher salaries, employers should establish a more efficient and streamlined recruitment process, and place more and more value on Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and bolstering company culture to prevent current employees and future candidates from moving to another company. It is imperative for companies to keep retention rates high, especially for skilled jobs where the cost of hiring a new employee is high.”


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