Big Business scouring world for new talents

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Big Business scouring world for new talents

CEOs are traveling far and wide to find talent outside of Korea.

LG Chem CEO Kim Bahn-suk has been visiting the United States for the past seven years to find new employees. This year, Kim held an annual recruitment fair at a hotel in Teaneck, New Jersey, the company said yesterday.

“In order to become a global LG Chem, we need to spare no effort to secure bright young people abroad,” Kim said.

Kim hired 40 graduates from top universities in the U.S. at the fair. Some hold doctorates in chemical engineering, the company said. They will play important roles in developing the next generation of technologies for the company, it said.

Since becoming CEO in 2006, Kim has been holding recruitment fairs every year in several cities in the U.S. In 2010, Kim held a fair in Japan.

The fairs have been attended by over 4,000 foreigners and overseas Koreans since 2005. About 300 employees at LG’s chemical unit were hired through the fairs.

“It impressed people that the LG chief came from far away to meet talent in person and explain the company’s vision,” said Cho Won-tae, a manager at the company.

LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo recently remarked that CEOs need to get out of their offices to find outstanding employees.

Other conglomerates such as Doosan, Posco, Hanwha and SK hold recruitment fairs every year in countries like the U.S., England, China, Japan and Australia. It’s now become a competitive game among the companies.

Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee started the trend. Last summer, Samsung conducted its annual recruitment for employees with engineering and master’s of business administration degrees in Europe and the U.S.

Doosan Group Chairman Park Yong-man flies to New York to interview applicants for positions every fall. “The chairman is passionate about overseeing interviews, considering it a valuable chance to get to know future employees,” an official at Doosan said.

Posco hired 10 people with expertise in resource development in Australia for the first time in its history.

“CEO Chung Joon-yang ordered us to find talents in the resource field because resource development is becoming an important business for Posco,” a company official said. The steelmaker has been hiring a small number of new employees every year in the U.S., England and China.

CEOs of Hanwha Group subsidiaries are also going abroad to secure workforces. SK C&C joined the bandwagon, holding its first recruitment fair in the U.S. last year.

“Many groups are starting new businesses like biotech and chemical engineering as future growth engines, but there is a huge shortage in top-class employees in the domestic labor market,” said Bae Seong-o, a researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute. “There is a greater pool of talent in other countries. That is why leading companies want to be faster than others to secure workers they really need, from wherever they can get them. Competition is heating up among companies.”


By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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