Steelmakers promise to hire more newbies

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Steelmakers promise to hire more newbies

Korean steelmakers are hiring, following the Moon Jae-in administration’s pleas to create more jobs.

Leading steelmakers including Posco, Hyundai Steel and Dongkuk Steel Mill announced plans to expand their hiring over the next several years at a briefing hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday at the Lotte Hotel Seoul.

Posco will be expanding its hiring from less than 1,000 people annually to 1,500 to take on a total of 6,000 new employees through 2020.

The new openings will all be full-time positions on the permanent payroll.

Hyundai Steel, a major steel supplier to Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors, vowed to create 430 jobs this year, a 12 percent increase year on year, even with a challenging environment for the automakers.

Dongkuk Steel Mill, which finalized a restructuring plan recently, announced it will hire 115 newbies, triple the number hired last year.

The steelmakers also agreed to ramp up support for their small suppliers at Wednesday’s event. Getting large companies to pursue symbiotic growth with their suppliers is another theme of the Moon administration.

Posco is earmarking a 50 billion won ($44.5 million) fund to pay suppliers earlier. While the steelmaker customarily pays direct suppliers upfront and in cash rather than promissory notes, second-tier suppliers weren’t so lucky.

The steelmaker said it will offer incentives to direct suppliers that pay their suppliers early and in cash.

The new fund will be established on top of 500 billion won worth of funds the steelmaker has already been operating, according to the company.

Hyundai Steel said it will expand investment for the upgrading of facilities of its subcontractors and also to beef up technological support for suppliers.

Another local steelmaker, SeAH Steel, has been supporting financing and technology for start-ups and small and midsize firms that produce finished goods based on basic materials sourced from SeAH.

Meanwhile the steelmakers discussed difficulties in global markets such as protectionist threats to Korean steel from the United States and tightened environmental regulations. They asked for the Trade Ministry’s support with these problems.

“We will discuss with relevant ministries how to resolve challenges steelmakers are facing and also come up with diverse incentives to encourage steelmakers’ pursuit of mutual growth with suppliers,” said Paik Un-kyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy during the event. “We have to closely cooperate to effectively respond to global oversupplies.”

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