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Corporate promotion system favors seniority over ability: survey

Promotion systems at more than 35 percent of Korean companies still largely prioritize employee seniority over job skills, according to data released by career portal site Job Korea on Wednesday.

Job Korea surveyed 1,057 employees regarding their companies’ promotion systems and found the top result of 35.5 percent of respondents said their companies base promotions on years of service.

Of the total respondents, 29.3 percent answered their companies promoted personnel under the criteria of employee merit or ability, followed by 25.3 percent answering that their companies promote based on a ranking system.

Based on the type of company, that data also showed that 45.6 percent of public corporations have established a years of service promotion system, while 32.6 percent of the large corporations have adopted a personnel ranking promotion system.

On the other hand, the Job Korea survey estimated that 46.2 percent of foreign companies tend to emphasize individual ability and work competence as part of their employee promotion systems, regardless of the number of years of service or rank.

The survey also revealed that 27.3 percent of respondents answered the biggest issue they have with companies promoting based on seniority is that the decision to promote has no connection to the quality of one’s job performance.

By Julie Jackson (