Gov’t lifts veil on how chaebol employ temps

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Gov’t lifts veil on how chaebol employ temps


One out of five employees working for Korea’s conglomerates are temporary workers, workers seconded from other companies such as suppliers or non-salaried contract workers.

A public notification system about employment practices launched yesterday showed that, in general, the bigger the company the higher the number of non-regular workers toiling at them.

For years, the government has been trying to get the conglomerates to put more workers on salary with benefits and cut down on contract employees, temps dispatched from recruiting agencies or workers loaned by subcontractors.

The Park Geun-hye administration has encouraged the conglomerates to create high-quality part-time jobs for early retirees or women who left their careers to marry or to have children.

As part of those efforts, the government is showing the public information about employment conditions at local companies. Korea is the only country to ask companies to reveal such detailed employment information.

Disclosures include numbers and ratios of salaried and non-salaried workers as well the gender ratio of their work forces.

Companies with more than 300 employees were required to provide information about their work forces.

With the exception of five, nearly all of the 2,947 companies complied with the disclosure. They uploaded the information on the website of Work Net (, which is run by the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

The site shows that the total number of employees who are in proper staff positions with benefits at the 2,942 companies was 2.73 million, or 62.7 percent of the total work force.

The number of non-regular workers based on yearly contracts was 675,000, or 15.5 percent. The remaining workers were temps or seconded from other companies like suppliers to the chaebol.

Hyundai Heavy Industries had the largest number of non-salaried workers, totaling 40,767. The company’s total work force is 68,523.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering had 30,666 outside workers out of a 43,874 total, accounting for nearly 70 percent of its work force.

Samsung Electronics had 24,377 workers who are temps or seconded from other companies, 21.3 percent of its total employees. That was the lowest ratio among the country’s top 10 conglomerates.

By industry, the ratio of non-regular workers in the services and shipbuilding industries was remarkably high.

The percentage of contract workers at Lotteria was 77.3 percent, and at McDonald’s it was 80.9 percent.

The business community expressed discomfort with the government’s disclosure requirements, complaining that such information should be a trade secret for companies.

“The government’s measure is intended to make companies voluntarily improve their employment conditions,” said an official at the Korea Employers’ Federation.

BY song su-hyun []

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