Lotte courts good P.R. with job plans

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Lotte courts good P.R. with job plans

Faced with the furious public criticism about the family feud for control of Lotte, the retail group announced Friday that it will hire 24,000 entry-level young people as regular salaried employees by 2018.

The company said it was trying to help the government’s push to reduce youth unemployment, but many saw the pledge as a way of apologizing to the Korean public for the family airing its dirty laundry.

Under the plan, the number of new hires this year will be 5,200, up 20.5 percent from last year’s 4,150. In 2018, it will hire a total of 7,000 new workers.

“Lotte directly hires 95,000 workers and indirectly 130,000 through different service contracts,” the company said in a statement.

“By 2020, Lotte will directly employ 155,000 and a total of 590,000 through contracts, which is up 60 percent compared to the current state.”

The company added that it will increase the proportion of female employees by setting a quota of 40 percent for women in a bid to enhance diversity in its workforce.

Previously, the proportion was set at 35 percent.

The company said this year’s recruiting will emphasize actual job capabilities as seen in internship experiences, in-depth knowledge of certain fields and specific skills demanded by the position.

That is also a populist move because it does not require applicants to have good test scores or training certificates, which young people pay a lot of money to get.

The pursuit for higher scores on English tests like Toeic costs a lot in private tuition expenses.

In April, the retail group said it will prohibit job candidates from stating their scores on English proficiency tests or citing training certificates they have earned.

The candidates were also told not to cite experiences that the company deems irrelevant, such as involvement in college clubs, volunteer work and overseas language programs.

Lotte will ask candidates to state only their names and contact numbers for some positions at the group.

The only document required is an essay related to the field that candidates apply for.

“Companies need to fulfill their responsibilities by creating jobs to contribute to the local economy,” said Lee In-won, vice chairman of Lotte Group.

“[Lotte] will keep focusing on work-related skills to open more opportunities for talented young people.”

Announcing lots of new jobs is the latest effort by the company to win back public support after the fraternal battle for control within the group exposed a dysfunctional family and a dubious corporate governance structure.

Lotte Corporation, the construction unit that built Lotte World Mall in Jamsil, displayed a mega-sized national flag on the incomplete tower to commemorate Independence Day on Aug. 15.

Meanwhile, founder Shin Kyuk-ho and his eldest son continue to keep a low profile after they tried to oust chairman Shin Dong-bin of Lotte Group and co-CEO of Japan’s Lotte Holdings, who is the younger son of the founder.

The patriarch is believed to be staying at his private office located on the 34th floor of the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul.

Dong-joo, the eldest son, was in Korea, although he returned to Japan Friday evening.

On the other hand, Dong-bin has tightened his grip over the group.

It was revealed Thursday that he has become co-representative director of L Investment, an obscure Lotte unit holding majority shares in key Lotte affiliates.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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