Promotions for everyone as LG shows R&D resolve

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Promotions for everyone as LG shows R&D resolve

LG, amid a fierce battle against its biggest competitor Samsung, has demonstrated its resolve to increase its focus on research and development by announcing the promotion of a dozen researchers across its affiliates to executive-level positions.

The nation’s fourth-largest conglomerate yesterday gave out the annual LG R&D Award to 25 team leaders (24 teams, one with two leaders) at electronics, chemical, telecom and display arms.

Of those 25, 12 were promoted to be executive-level research experts, and the remaining 13 had their positions upgraded. It was the first time in the award’s 32-year history that all winners of the R&D prize got promoted, LG said.

LG executed the measure as a sign of Chairman Koo Bon-moo’s “strong willingness to provide groundbreaking compensation for R&D achievements and foster the R&D work force,” said the group in a statement. He said earlier that securing core technologies before others makes it possible for LG to be a market leader.

Meanwhile, Samsung yesterday came up with a convention-reversing plan to hire entry workers with humanities degrees from college and foster them into software engineers in the upcoming recruiting process for the first half of the year.

It said it will pick 200 graduates to take 960 hours of software education for six months, and those who pass the intensive course will be hired as software engineers at Samsung SDS and Samsung Electronics. During the training period, candidates will receive a monthly stipend of 500,000 won ($456).

The idea comes from the premise that software development requires a broad-based educational background. Samsung borrowed on the example of industry archrival Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs, who studied philosophy in college.

The fact that over 50 percent of college graduates in Korea are nonengineers also affected the decision. At Samsung, up to 80 percent of its hires each year have had engineering backgrounds.

“The demand for entry workers in the software sector has been growing, but the supply wasn’t sufficient,” said Rhee In-yong, chief of the communications team at Samsung. “The new recruiting system will adjust the balance and offer more job opportunities for humanities majors.”

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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