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Small firms struggling to attract job applicants

Aug 24,2017
Small and mid-size companies continue to struggle to recruit workers as job seekers prefer to work at large companies that pay more.

According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor Wednesday, companies with more than five employees wanted to hire 850,000 people in the first quarter of this year, up 3.7 percent from the previous year. But the number they actually hired only reached 757,000, which was 3.8 percent higher compared to a year earlier. That is a gap of 94,000, meaning 11 percent of the jobs available weren’t filled.

The gap was higher for smaller firms, the government said. The proportion of unfilled positions in companies with less than 300 employees was 12.6 percent compared to only 4.6 percent at companies with more than 300 employees.

“The biggest reason for companies not being able to hire people was because the working conditions they offered such as wages didn’t meet the job seekers’ expectations,” said Kwak Hee-kyung, a director at the labor ministry.

According to the ministry, 23.8 percent of companies said they weren’t able to find workers as job seekers disliked their working condition and another 16.5 percent said people didn’t like the jobs those companies do in general. Some companies were not able to find applicants with the required educational level or work experience.

The labor market is likely to remain sluggish for a while. The government said companies are planning to hire 308,000 people during the second and third quarters of this year, 1.5 percent lower than a year ago. Companies with less than 300 employees plan on hiring fewer people, while companies with 300 employees plan on hiring more than last year.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]