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No. of new hires unlikely to rise

Sept 03,2018
The number of new hires by Korean conglomerates this year is likely to remain at a similar level to last year.

According to a study released on Sunday by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), a think tank under the Federation of Korean Industries, 63 companies out of 122, or 51.6 percent, responded in a poll that they will keep their new hiring this year at about the same level as 2017. Twenty-nine companies, or 23.8 percent, said they plan to expand the size of their hiring while 30 companies, 24.6 percent, said they will actually downsize the number of new recruits.

The think tank conducted the study on 500 top companies in Korea in terms of sales with 300 or more employees. Of those, 122 companies responded to the survey and disclosed their hiring plan for the year.

Out of the companies that plan to hire more, about 38 percent said they need more workers to cope with the 52-hour workweek policy that went into effect earlier this year. Among the firms that plan to reduce hiring, approximately 17 percent will do so because of rising labor costs.

Korea’s job market has been sluggish in recent months, with the number of new jobs added to the economy on a steady fall to as low as 5,000 in the month of July, indicating the worst employment conditions since the end of the 2008 financial crisis.

In the midst of worsening employment conditions, market watchers are hoping that the nation’s large companies will be able to boost the number of Koreans on payroll.

In a recent meeting with Kim Dong-yeon, finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy, Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung said it would hire as many as 40,000 new employees in the next three years, double the original plan of hiring 20,000 during the same period. SK Group is planning to add 8,500 new jobs to the economy this year while LG Group pledged to hire as many as 10,000 new employees this year, according to KERI.

“Despite the unfavorable business conditions, major conglomerates are rolling out investment and hiring plans,” said Choo Kwang-ho, director of job strategy at KERI. “We are hoping that things like the government’s aggressive deregulation will enable these plans to be realized as proposed and create more jobs.”


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]