Part-time popular with employees and SMEs

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Part-time popular with employees and SMEs

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While studies show more than half of Korean adults are willing to work part-time, small and midsize companies regard hiring part-time employees more positively than conglomerates.

According to a survey released by job portal Saramin yesterday, more than half of small and midsize companies said job expansion through a time-selective job policy could be effective, compared to only 26.7 percent of conglomerates. The survey asked 433 private companies for their views on time-selective employment.

Companies with positive responses said part-time employment would enhance flexibility in personnel management and allow for lower salaries. They also cited contributing to the creation of jobs.

On the other hand, companies with negative responses said it would be difficult to ensure the equal treatment of part-time and full-time employees and said it could cause conflicts. In addition, the companies said working shorter hours could weaken employees’ loyalty to the company.

Asked if they would like to add part-time employees, only 38.8 percent of all respondents said they would. Other positive effects cited attracting high-quality talent, reducing overtime work and establishing new positions.

Private companies said they would mostly create time-selective positions in customer service, followed by office jobs, production jobs and simple-task jobs. Only 12.5 percent of companies said they would put part-time employees in specialized and technical jobs.

“Small and midsize companies welcome the time-selective job policy because they have struggled from a shortage of workers. Plus they receive government subsidies to provide the same employee welfare as for full-time workers, including the four major insurance systems,” said Lee Ju-hwan, researcher at the Korea Labor and Society Institute.

Lee said it is obvious that conglomerates would be less enthusiastic about hiring part-time workers for highly skilled positions with their current long-hour operating system, because they cannot redesign the whole work division structure in a short period of time.

“Under the current work system, conglomerates can’t give core jobs to part-time workers just to fulfill the government policy, because those tasks require long time to complete,” Lee said. “So, I think it would be difficult for them to immediately overcome conventional practice, in which companies hire part-time employees mostly for low-paying positions.”


BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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