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Spotlight on KLA Korea: Focus on Customers and Community

Nov 17, 2022 6 min read

Our virtual tour of KLA’s global locations continues with a spotlight on KLA Korea. Operating in South Korea since 1993, KLA has offices in Icheon, Pyeongtaek, Cheongju and Gumi.

With a highly skilled workforce of more than 800, KLA Korea provides product installation, customer support and applications engineering, as well as KLA’s industry leading process control and process-enabling solutions to its customers based in the region.

KLA Korea is headquartered in Dongtan New Town, a developed district about an hour south of Seoul, where some key KLA customers are also located. Dongtan New Town is home to a number of leading high-tech companies in the semiconductor, artificial intelligence, telecom and biotechnology industries. Part of a national plan focused on long-term sustainability for residents and the regional environment, Dongtan New Town is rich in waterways, farmland, mountains and natural parks, and an express train and highway connect it with nearby Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

KLA was named to the Fortune 500 list in 2021 and 2022, and was also recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune Magazine in 2022. Read how delivering innovation by putting employees and customers first sets KLA apart.

“As part of a global company with great talent, dominant market share and close partnerships with customers, KLA Korea is known for offering high-tech solutions that help chip manufacturers ramp up their products quickly at high yield. Korean employees collaborate closely and comfortably with colleagues and customers around the world – and work to develop themselves for long-term career growth and make an impact on our communities through volunteerism.”

Rollin Kocher, President, KLA Korea

Seeking Top Talent and Developing Careers

For almost 30 years KLA Korea’s multidisciplinary team of engineers have been contributing to a brighter world by supporting customer manufacturing activities for optics, light sources, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Employees work in sales, customer service, applications, marketing and installation, and some business units conduct research and development as well as manufacturing activities.

KLA’s headcount in South Korea has doubled in the past three years, and the five locations continue to recruit top talent.

“I joined KLA because I believe my background in machine learning technology can contribute to the company’s business opportunities in semiconductor inspection and metrology,” says Youjung Seo. “As an AI (artificial intelligence) support engineer, I’m motivated and energized to meet the challenges our customers face now and in the future.”

KLA Korea offers many possibilities for employees to grow in their jobs and take on different roles.

“Our employees work with people around the world in an open environment and often pursue various career paths within different areas of our business,” explains Sean Lim, human resources manager.

Taesik Kim, field application engineer, has held multiple roles at KLA Korea, beginning as a customer service engineer. Later, he became a ramp-up engineer for a new product, then moved on to work as a hardware engineer to evaluate a new tool.  Kim also held the position of team leader and eventually developed to become an application engineer.  

“I’ve stayed with KLA Korea because of the diverse opportunities I have had here during my career,” Taesik says. “Even though there are demanding moments in every job, I have grown into a better engineer by meeting tough challenges. I believe that everyone who takes that approach will have many opportunities at KLA.”

Interns Often Join KLA

KLA Korea offers summer and winter internships to attract talent from universities. Some interns, like customer support engineer Hyunho Lee, are invited to join the company based on their performance following their internship. During the internship, Hyunho realized his goal of working as an engineer with responsibilities in a professional environment.  

“I was impressed by KLA’s expertise, technologies and solutions – and the high level of collaboration among employees,” he says. “I felt that I had really experienced the best in the semiconductor industry during the internship and decided KLA is a good investment in my future, and I’m happy to be a full-time employee.”

Employee Life at KLA Korea: Multiple Training and Development Opportunities

The company moved Korean headquarters to the new building in Dongtan, New Town in 2019, offering employees modern workspaces and places to relax as well as opportunities to learn. The company is building a new Learning and Knowledge Services (LKS) training center in Yongin to enhance employees’ professional skills.

KLA Korea actively supports individual development, often beginning when people join the company.

Newly hired engineers, for example, have three weeks of equipment training in the United States, Singapore, Taiwan or Israel, and additional upgrade training as needed. Technical seminars on KLA technology, products and semiconductor solutions are available to all KLA Korea employees.

Online courses to improve soft skills such as leadership and communication also help employees advance their careers.

“Korean employees also engage regularly with engineers abroad who work for KLA and customers, enhancing their capabilities and knowledge as they do their jobs,” Lim says.

Working Hard and Having Fun Together

Mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic restricted social activities for two years, KLA Korea employees gathered together for Family Day events, which included the day at a theme park or enjoying a popular Korean movie at a premium cinema.

“Family Day was an opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work and recognize families for their sacrifices while parents and spouses devote their workdays to making a difference at KLA,” says Clara Park, global work services team manager.

With employee wellbeing in mind, KLA Korea is organizing 18 employee clubs for outside activities, including playing football and tennis, running track, fishing and camping events – and even a book club.

Each of the five Korean offices encourages employee interaction and offers many opportunities for social engagement. A Fun Committee is planning a darts competition, and employees enhance teamwork after workshops with lunches and dinners.

Contributing to the Good of the Community

Habitat for Humanity

KLA has supported Habit for Humanity Korea since 2014, donating $20,000 in 2022 for mobile housing construction. Employees volunteered for woodworking and painting.

“I volunteered for Habitat because I wanted to experience an activity in a meaningful way that actually will contribute directly to somebody’s wellbeing,” says Youngjoo Song, technical support engineer.

Sponsoring Robotics to Reinforce STEM Education

The company also continues to support robotics competitions among students. In 2021, KLA Foundation donated $35,000 ​to sponsor 12 teams of middle and high school students in Hwaseong competing in FEST (Feeling and Enjoying Science and Technology) robotics competitions. The six-month program included recruitment of teams, 10 online STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses for participants and a robot kit.

For 2022, KLA Foundation and KLA Korea is sponsoring a FEST robotics education program for 15 KLA scholarship teams for students in Dongtan, Suwon, Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi province. The nonprofit FEST foundation partners with the U.S. FIRST Foundation to enhance STEM skills and software controlling capabilities among students. As part of the program KLA hosted a summer workshop for 2022 participants in Dongtan, sharing the company’s vision and introducing students to different jobs.

“During discussion of engineering processes and some brainstorming, our goal was to develop students’ talent and creative problem-solving abilities and instill a sense of global leadership and worldwide thinking,” says Subin Yong, global work services team, Korea. “Through robotics competitions, we hope to reinforce STEM education among young Koreans and send a championship team to an international robotics competition.”

Supporting STEM Education and Activities at Orphanage

KLA Foundation and KLA Korea also support STEM education and activities at ShinMyeong Imaru, an orphanage in Hwaseong.

In 2021 and 2022, the KLA Foundation donated $25,000 for educational materials, including a new beam projector for the lecture hall, a laptop and 10 PCs for the IT classroom and furniture for the library. In November 2022, KLA employees volunteered to make Christmas wreaths and had dinner with the children.

To start your career at KLA, a World’s Most Admired Company, browse our job openings in South Korea and our many global locations for the opportunities ahead for you.

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