Small firms struggle to find qualified employees

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Small firms struggle to find qualified employees

The unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 29 is at an all-time low in Korea, but small and medium-sized companies say they are still having a hard time finding the right people to fill their positions, a poll from a local job search site revealed Thursday.

According to a survey by Saramin of 141 businesses with less than 300 employees, 59.4 percent were unable to find entry-level workers that met their qualifications in the first half of the year, and 71.6 percent of respondents said they found it difficult to recruit the right people.

Those that did hire said they would grade their new recruits 65 out of 100.

As for why these businesses had trouble finding people, 44.6 percent said they felt job seekers were prejudiced toward small and midsize companies, and 33.7 percent admitted their companies lacked vision and a solid organizational structure. Around 26 percent mentioned a general preference in Korean society for large companies. Respondents were allowed to make multiple choices.

By industry, manufacturers had the hardest time hiring, with 32.7 percent saying they struggled with recruitment. Among new hires, 38 percent left after two years.

A poll of human resources staff at 602 small companies by another job site, Job Korea, showed 69.1 percent of companies suffered a shortage of qualified workers because they failed to hire the right people at the right time.

When asked to elaborate on the difficulties, a third of respondents said there were not enough qualified applicants, and 28.1 percent said they had to hire new people frequently because there was so much turnover.

“More than 90 percent of all companies in Korea are small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Lim Min-woo, head of public relations at Saramin. “But the fact that 60 percent of them see a workforce shortage casts an issue that requires deep thought.”

The unemployment rate of people aged 15 to 29 posted a record-high of 12.3 percent in February and registered 10.5 percent in June.

Lim at Saramin advised small businesses to enhance their work environment and benefits to attract a quality workforce.

“Evolving into a company that job seekers want work at and where employees are eager to stay requires reducing the gap in salary and other benefits against larger companies,” he said, “as well as presenting growth potential and stability.”

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