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Top 30 chaebol creating fewer jobs

The country’s major conglomerates created fewer jobs last year in a reflection of the lackluster economy, market research firm CEO Score reported Wednesday.

The firm, which specializes in chaebol data, revealed that 274 subsidiaries of the top 30 conglomerates, including LG, Hyundai, Samsung and SK, recruited just over 1 million employees as of late 2014, down 0.3 percent from a year ago. Last year’s hiring accounted for only a 1.3 percent rise in the total number of employees.

“It is very worrisome that the conglomerates’ creation of quality jobs has not increased much,” a CEO Score official said, pointing at the business heavyweights’ lack of contribution to the national economy.

According to an earlier report by CEO Score, released July 2014, the country’s two largest conglomerates, Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group, comprised about 35 percent of South Korea’s gross domestic product between 2008 and 2012.

The chaebol’s underemployment has stirred controversy among policymakers and job seekers alike, largely due to the country’s high economic dependency on large conglomerates.

The controversy led to criticism that the chaebol’s 1.3 percent recruitment in 2014 seriously underplays the country’s 3.3 percent economic growth last year. Recruitment grew 1.6 percent in 2013, when the growth was far lower at 2.8 percent growth.

CEO Score reported the 274 subsidiary firms increased the number of contract workers, who have lower job security, salaries and treatment compared to regular workers.

Late last year, regular workers at the 30 business groups grew just 936,230, up 1 percent from a year ago, while contract workers jumped to 77,764, or 4.2 percent.

By Chung Joo-won (