'Big 4' group leaders to shoulder more job creation

'Big 4' group leaders to shoulder more job creation

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, left, is seen with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong at a training center for young people at Samsung’s headquarters in southern Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap

PM set to meet chaebol chiefs in October

By Kim Bo-eun

Major conglomerates are being implicitly urged by the government to retain their former scale of recruiting new employees, at a time when landing a job has become increasingly tough for college students. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum is seeking a meeting with the chiefs of LG, Hyundai and SK Groups next month, to request that they continue to ensure mass recruitment drives.

Kim met with Samsung Electronics head Lee Jae-yong earlier this week to ask him to hire more people in addition to a recently unveiled group plan. Samsung announced it would hire 40,000 workers over the next three years, via Korea’s conventional recruitment system. But following the meeting, the tech giant stated it would be recruiting 30,000 more workers within this timeframe, bringing the total number to 70,000.

The company said it would double the number of trainees in its software training program to 2,000. The program facilitates recruitment at Samsung’s affiliates.

The prime minister began the initiative with telecom company KT, Sept. 7. KT stated it would hire 12,000 individuals over the next three years, and would provide training in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector to 3,600 young people in cities nationwide during that time.

Kim is seeking to next meet with LG Chairman Koo Kwang-mo. The prime minister will likely ask LG to also engage in substantial-scale recruitments in the coming years, and set up more programs in AI and robotics, sectors which the conglomerate is focusing on as future growth engines.

In recent years, a number of Korea’s largest business groups have switched their hiring planning to year-round recruitment to fill specific needs, instead of a twice yearly mass employment system. They traditionally conducted mass recruitments in the first and second halves of the year; but Hyundai Motor and LG groups changed their systems to recruitment as per demand.

“Under Korea’s traditional system, it took time to train a new recruit to perform work at a certain division, which made the process inefficient,” an official from a conglomerate said.

“Now each division or even a team is able to hire individuals customized to positions when they need to. Also, the total number of new recruits has not fallen.”

This is however, a concern of the government. Under the traditional system, companies disclosed the number of people they were hiring, but under the on-demand system it is difficult to keep track of how many are newly employed.

Firms also tend to prefer experienced workers, which decreases the slots available for young people fresh out of college.

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