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Conglomerates raise recruitment, investment plans

Local conglomerates will hire a record number of new employees and increase investments this year, the Federation of Korean Industries said Wednesday.

At a meeting in Seoul with President Lee Myung-bak on shared-growth, the FKI said the country’s 30 largest conglomerates have plans to hire 124,000 new employees this year. Attendants included the heads of the 28 largest conglomerates including Chung Mong-koo of Hyundai Motor Group and Samsung Group’s Lee Kun-hee. 
About 1,200 job seekers attend a job fair for construction companies organized by the Construction Association of Korea in southern Seoul on Wednesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
About 1,200 job seekers attend a job fair for construction companies organized by the Construction Association of Korea in southern Seoul on Wednesday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

The shared-growth program has been one of the Lee administration’s main policies affecting the country’s business community, and is aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises benefit more from their dealings with larger companies.

The recruitment figure is 12.7 percent higher than last year’s, and the largest recruitment plan by the concerned companies on record. Of the total planned for the year, 68,000, or just over half, have already been hired during the first six months of the year.

In addition to expanding overall recruitment, the conglomerates were also shown to have upped the quota of high school graduates to be hired this year.

According to the FKI, the nation’s largest lobby group, the 30 conglomerates plan to hire a total of 35,000 high school graduates ―- who have traditionally been looked over in favor of those with higher education -― this year, up 4,000 from 2010. Of the total, 52.8 percent or 18,000 posts for high-school graduates have been filled.

The business groups’ investment plans also call for larger investments this year. According to the FKI, concerned conglomerates will invest 114.8 trillion won ($107.6 billion) this year, rising 14.3 percent from last year despite uncertainties in the global economic outlook.

While most businessmen attending the meeting remained tightlipped about issues surrounding their companies as is the norm at such occasions, some including Hyundai Heavy Industries chairman Min Keh-sik made passing comments about some of their plans.

According to Min, the company is working with other parties to set up a 30 billion won fund for supporting SMEs, which will be operated by the recently launched Asan Sharing Foundation. The plans for the foundation, which will be operated using funds raised by Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the Grand National Party and other Hyundai conglomerates excluding Hyundai Motor Group and Hyundai Group, were announced earlier this month.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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