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[Exclusive] Spelling errors call space agency's foreign talent search into question

Multiple typos found in Korea AeroSpace Administration’s English job application for foreign nationals

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : April 4, 2024 - 14:38

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A screenshot of Korea AeroSpace Administration's English application A screenshot of Korea AeroSpace Administration's English application

Multiple spelling errors have been found in the Korea AeroSpace Administration’s English-language job application, raising questions about the country’s professionalism and sincerity in recruiting professionals from overseas to its soon-to-be-established space body.

KASA’s English job application, which can be downloaded from the new space body’s official website, on Wednesday showed that all four documents contained the same spelling mistake in the name of the agency. The application reads “Korea AreoSpace Administration” instead of “Korea AeroSpace Administration” at the top of each document.

A second error was found in the resume application form. Under the part where applicants are required to write down information about their graduate schools, it read “Countr” instead of “Country.” The mistake stood out as the section immediately below, where applicants indicate their undergraduate school, had the same word spelled correctly.

A screenshot of Korea AeroSpace Administration's English application A screenshot of Korea AeroSpace Administration's English application

Experts in Korea’s science and technology sector criticized the lack of preparedness as it makes people doubt the government’s expertise and sincerity in recruiting top talent, despite the government's claims that it wants to bring the best experts to KASA.

"In a situation where the working conditions and salaries in Sacheon may not be attractive enough for overseas scholars, these mistakes will be even more detrimental," said a researcher who requested anonymity. "It’s really shameful."

Korea earlier passed a special act to attract top space professionals and promised unprecedented wages for the public posts. For the highest position of the aerospace mission headquarters’ leader, which is directly under the head of KASA, the annual salary has been set at 250 million won, which is on par with that of South Korea's president. The KASA preparatory office even said wages could potentially be raised above such guidelines depending on the complexity of tasks and what the candidate’s salary was at their previous job.

Korea AeroSpace Administration preparatory office holds a recruitment presentation in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, on March 14. (Ministry of Science and ICT) Korea AeroSpace Administration preparatory office holds a recruitment presentation in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, on March 14. (Ministry of Science and ICT)

The recruitment process to hire foreign nationals for research and leadership positions at the agency began on March 14 and will end on April 15. According to the KASA preparatory office, there have been few foreign applicants so far.

“In the previous recruitment process (for Korean national researchers only), about 400 people submitted their applications on March 25, the last day of the recruitment period,” said Lee Jae-hyung, director general of the preparatory office for KASA.

“We are hoping to see a similar trend in the foreign talent recruitment process.”

A total of 807 people applied during the recruitment process for Korean national researchers, which will eventually hire 50 employees.

The KASA preparatory office plans to hold an open recruitment process for positions that are not filled through the current recruitment process.

“The fact that there was a typo in the government’s official document makes me feel like (KASA) is not approaching the foreign recruitment process seriously,” said an international student at one of Korea's major universities for science and technology.

“It is a simple mistake that would not have happened if they had reviewed it more thoroughly.”

After The Korea Herald's report, the KASA preparatory office corrected the errors.

"Our employees made a mistake while working on drafting the application format," the office said. "We will be more careful not to make this kind of mistake in the future."