Big companies to reduce hiring of new graduates

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Big companies to reduce hiring of new graduates

A quarter of large corporations are planning to reduce new graduate hires in the first half, or not hire them at all during that period.

According to a Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) survey of 126 chaebol-related companies, 19 percent of the respondents said they were planning to offer jobs to fewer fresh college graduates in the first half, while 8.8 percent said they don’t intend to hire them at all until June.

The companies surveyed have 300 or more employees and are all among the 500 most profitable companies in the country.

Of the survey respondents, 32.5 percent didn’t finalize their hiring plans for the first half as of late February when the questionnaires were sent out.

Only 5.6 percent said they would recruit more than last year between January and June.

Thirty-four percent said they would hire as many new college graduates as last year, but the institute pointed out the possibility of actual numbers being lower in reality considering the timing of the survey.

“The questionnaires were answered between Feb. 5 and Feb. 19 - right before the number of coronavirus patients in Korea suddenly started to soar,” said Choo Kwang-ho, the research head of KERI’s economy policy division.

It was on Feb. 18 that the first Shincheonji follower was confirmed with the disease. On Feb. 20, the number of newly confirmed patients reached double digits and broke 100 the next day.

“Considering the recent expansion speed of the new coronavirus, the demand for hires by chaebol companies is expected to face additional challenges,” said Choo.

On why they couldn’t increase the recruitment of college graduates, 43.6 percent cited the slow economy, while 34.6 percent said they were facing more difficulties this year internally. Twenty-five percent said there were fewer people leaving their jobs, which in turn lowers demand for hires. Multiple answers were allowed.

On the overall trend in new recruits and human resources, 62.7 percent of the survey respondents said there’s higher demand for the hiring of experienced workers from other companies.

Half of them said there would be an increase of irregular hiring, whereby employees are brought in based on need, and a move away from hiring in bulk.

The average annual wage for college graduates at these companies was 40 million won ($33,500).

Thirty-three percent of the companies in the survey said they are paying them between 40 to 45 million won, followed by 35 to 40 million won (27.7 percent) and 30 to 35 million won (18.3 percent).

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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