Survey sees dim prospects for new college graduates

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Survey sees dim prospects for new college graduates

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There’s some bad news for college graduates.

With another tough year forecast for the nation’s economy, most businesses are hesitant to hire new employees.

According to a survey by the JoongAng Ilbo and job portal Incruit released Wednesday, only three of the nation’s top 10 conglomerates - Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Lotte Group - say they will hire more people this year than they did in 2014.

Samsung Group flagship Samsung Electronics said it will hire 5,000 applicants fresh out of college this year, which is 500 fewer than last year. Worse, Samsung Electronics announced Thursday it will freeze salaries of all employees for the first time in six years.

Samsung Group has shed four affiliates in the defense and chemical industries after a mega-deal with Hanwha Group in November, and some affiliates, including Samsung C&T Corporation, are encouraging voluntary resignations.

“The economy was bad last year and the situation will not change much this year,” said Samsung spokesman Lee Jun. “Since the group’s overall performance wasn’t that good last year, we will adjust new hiring in accordance with such circumstances.”

There’s more bad news for people who have been studying for Samsung’s hiring exam, the Samsung Aptitude Test. Starting in the second half of the year, the company will switch to a system that includes essays to help evaluate how much applicants understand about the jobs they are seeking. That means there might be an even bigger crowd than usual when Samsung Group receives first-half applications March 11-20.

“Samsung’s new hiring system will carefully check whether an applicant is suitable for a job,” said Incruit executive Seo Mi-young. “Since there isn’t much information, students who apply to Samsung in the second half of the year will struggle.”

Unlike Samsung, Hyundai Motor Group plans to hire 7,400 college graduates this year, 600 more than last year. The nation’s largest automaker said Tuesday it will hire 9,500 employees including the newcomers, or 400 more than in 2014.

The group’s flagship Hyundai Motor said it will hire more college graduates than the 1,600 it did last year, and students who majored in natural sciences and engineering will have a better chance since the company is emphasizing development of environmentally friendly cars, such as electric vehicles.

After receiving applications in March, Hyundai Motor Group will announce successful candidates in June.

SK and Doosan said they haven’t developed specific hiring plans for this year. SK hired 2,000 employees (800 in the first half) last year and is expected to a hire similar number of workers this year, according to the survey.

The nation’s leading shipbuilder, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), said Thursday it will hire 650 college graduates for administrative positions in the first half. It will start receiving applications March 2 on its employment website (http://recruit.hhi.co.kr).

In this recruitment, the company will introduce a new hiring system called Hyundai Heavy Industries Assessment Tool for Catching Hidden Talent, or Hatch, with 600 questions meant to assess whether an applicant is right for the job and has a suitable personality for the company.

“We will first run the Hatch for administrative position candidates and use them to test production and experienced workers later,” said a spokesman for HHI.

LG, GS and Hanwha Group will hire similar numbers of workers as last year. LG will hire 2,000 college graduates, and GS a total of 1,700 employees in the first half, 400 of them college graduates and the rest high school graduates and experienced workers.

Lotte will hire 1,000 college graduates in the first half, about 100 more than last year.

Career and other job portals advise applicants to not focus only on studying hiring exams like the Samsung Aptitude Test, but also trying to find out the kinds of workers companies are looking for.

Career said many applicants do not even know simple general information that can be easily found on a company’s website, such as the business vision.

BY KWON SANG-SOO, KIM YOUNG-MIN [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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