SMEs rehiring retired conglomerate managers

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SMEs rehiring retired conglomerate managers

More senior workers who retire from major conglomerates are getting reemployed at small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), a win-win situation for the companies and retirees in search of a productive second-act career.

According to a survey conducted by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) and recruitment portal FindJob on the FKI’s 390 SME members released Monday, 70 percent said that hiring veterans retired from conglomerates helped their businesses, particularly in boosting quality management and using customer networks they built up in their previous career.

The FKI’s reemployment assistance center has a pool of 8,000 former managers who chose early retirement from conglomerates and 3,200 SMEs. It tries to match them.

Cosan, a home appliance maker focusing on water and air purifiers, saw its operating profit rise by more than 10 percent last year after changing the composition of the organization.

“Older managers work slower, but because they are highly skilled and experienced, the quality is very high,” said Cosan CEO Kim Gil-ho.

“They make much fewer errors than younger employees. I think such meticulous work done by older workers was the main growth engine that enhanced our production efficiency and the products’ quality.”

Jang Yong-seok, a 57-year-old export specialist was at the center of such sales enhancement, said Kim. He is an alumnus of Samsung Electronics and he helped Cosan get new customers in Germany, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

Jang had decades of overseas sales experience not just at Samsung but also at other start-ups and SMEs. He registered himself with the FKI’s reemployment assistance center last year, which introduced him to Cosan.

Jang started out as the head of the sales department. In just six months he was promoted as an executive.

“Managerial positions earn nearly double the annual salary of entry-level workers,” Kim from Cosan said. “However, their experience and skills make them worth it despite the additional costs.”

Job fairs to help highly skilled retirees go back to the workplace are taking place all around Korea.

The Korea International Trade Association is holding a job fair at Coex Convention Center on Tuesday for some 2,500 skilled job seekers and some 200 SMEs looking for overseas marketing experts, FTA experts as well as managers in services, retail, manufacturing and distribution.


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

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