Hyundai planning record recruitment drive for 2013

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Hyundai planning record recruitment drive for 2013

Hyundai Motor Group will recruit a record 7,700 new employees this year despite negative forecasts about the state of the domestic auto industry.

According to industry sources, the world’s fifth-largest automotive group, which has Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors under its wing, is ready to hire 7,700 regular workers for 2013, 200 more than last year.

It was reported that Hyundai will also switch about 1,700 in-house subcontractor employees over to regular employees, but the company denied speculation that this figure has been confirmed as the labor union and management are still discussing it.

The automaker has been tabbed as one of the hardest-hit victims from the weakening yen as its exports will decline.

According to financial information provider FnGuide, Hyundai Motor’s operating profit will stay at 2.07 trillion won ($1.9 billion) for this first quarter, slipping 9.1 percent from the same period last year.

The report also predicted that its small affiliate Kia Motors’ operating profit for this first quarter will be 1.01 trillion won, down 9.4 percent from its earlier prediction, while Hyundai Mobis, an auto parts maker, will chalk up 748.9 billion won ($690.8 million), a 3.6 percent drop from the previous estimate.

Despite these negative forecasts, Hyundai said it will not reduce its investments.

“The business environment is turning difficult for us, but as a corporation that needs to show social responsibility, we will keep reinforcing our recruitment and investment,” a spokesman from Hyundai’s communication division said yesterday. “We will officially announce our investment plan soon.”

The nation’s No. 2 conglomerate has been steadily ramping up recruitment over the last five years. For this year, 10 percent of its new recruits will work in R&D as the automaker wants to reinforce its competitiveness in future technologies.

Although Hyundai has not yet announced specific figures, industry sources say the group will invest 10 trillion won on R&D, 500 billion won more than last year.

Hyundai’s recruitment plan is thought to be in line with President-elect Park Geun-hye’s plan on “economic democratization,” asking corporations to take more responsibility in society.

In his New Year’s message, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo said that the group should be an “exemplary company” in helping the poor.

Following its decision to switch 3,500 in-house subcontractor employees to regular employees by 2016, Hyundai and Kia recently deducted retail prices on their models.

In addition, the group also announced yesterday that it will pay 1.1 trillion won to its 2,000 suppliers in advance to help ease their financial pressure ahead of the Lunar New Year’s holiday next week. The vacation period is usually a busy time for local companies as they give their employees bonuses and pay other financial rewards.

“It will vitalize the local economy if the money goes to our second- and third-tier suppliers,” the company said in a release. “We are also buying gift certificates from traditional markets and our employees will volunteer public service for low-income families, so that many people can have a happy Lunar New Year’s Day.”


By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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