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Foreign-invested companies passive about hiring amid pandemic: KOTRA

People look for employment opportunities at a job fair in Seoul. (Yonhap)
People look for employment opportunities at a job fair in Seoul. (Yonhap)

As market uncertainty continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign-invested companies here have been passive about taking on new employees, a report from a state trade agency showed Sunday.

According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, which surveyed 2,500 firms between August and October last year, only 2 out of 10 had carried out their recruitment plans for the year.

A total of 464 companies, or 18.6 percent of those surveyed, sought to hire. Of those, 218 had completed their recruitment by the time of the survey, 60 were in the process of hiring and the other 186 were still in the planning stages.

Of the 2,036 that didn’t opt to hire any new employees, 79 percent said the decision stemmed from the market’s diminished growth potential. Also, 54.1 percent said they were experiencing a business slump in Korea. Companies were allowed to choose multiple answers.

When asked about their plans for 2021, most of the foreign-invested companies said they had no plans at the time of the survey. Only 2 percent said they had recruitment plans in place.

“The economic downturn and gloomy prospects due to COVID-19 have weakened the job market, and it is hard to forecast the future,” the report said.

“But not many companies confirmed that they will not hire this year, so there is still some room for companies to set new plans if the economy recovers.”

Among the 2,500 companies, 95 said they would not hire in 2021, and 47 said they would not hire in 2022.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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