KB bank devises new hiring plan

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KB bank devises new hiring plan

KB Kookmin Bank plans to double its number of new recruits by 2016, and will start increasing its number of employees in the second half of this year by 100 more than last year.

The aggressive hiring is part of the bank’s pre-emptive moves against the vacancies it will be hit with as baby boomers retire in the coming years.

KB Kookmin Bank President Lee Kun-ho said Tuesday that based on the bank’s long-term estimates, it would need to start hiring more employees this year.

“Things could change depending on the situation, but under the current estimates we need to hire roughly 500 people every year,” Lee said.

Based on its calculations, KB Kookmin Bank said it will recruit 290 people in the second half of this year, which will make a total of 355 hired for all of 2014. Last year, the bank hired 236 people.

Under the plan, the bank will hire will 400 people next year and 500 in 2016.

According to the Korea Development Institute (KDI), the portion of the population that will be actively engaged in the economy will start falling in 2021.

This is largely because while the 7.1 million baby boomers retire from their workplace, the young generation who must replace them - those who were born between 1985 and 1993 - is more than one million people short at 5.96 million.

The KDI study also noted that there is a high probability that the nation could face a critical labor shortage.

KB Kookmin Bank currently has the most employees and branches out of all of Korea’s commercial banks. It employs 22,000 people, including executives, and has 1,100 branch offices nationwide. About 100 employees retire from the bank each year, but that figure is expected to spike to 500 and 600 within five years and 700 and 800 after that.

The bank has decided to hire more employees gradually before the baby boomers retire en masse because it will be more cost effective.

But then another question arises. With the rapidly changing environment in the financial industry, particularly the growing use of mobile devices for banking, will it be necessary for KB Kookmin Bank to maintain its current work force?

“If we only hire 200 or so employees every year and then try to recruit 1,000 employees all at once after waiting for all the baby boomers to retire, it will all be a mess,” said Kim Ki-hwan, head of the bank’s human resource department.

“If we assume that an employee stays with the bank for 30 years and when we hire 500 each year, that would add up to 15,000 people,” Kim said. “But when you think of the people who are going to quit before they are at a retiring age, we will be managing roughly 12,000 to 13,000 employees.”

Other banks are also planning to hire in the second half. As banks’ profits in the first six months have improved, the government has requested that they help raise the employment rate. Woori Bank plans on hiring 250 fresh recruits while Shinhan said it will hire 210.

That’s about 50 more employees each compared to the second half of last year. Hana Bank, which recruited 83 new employees last year, said it will hire between 100 and 150.

BY PARK YU-MI [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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