SEOUL, May 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Large companies in South Korea cut their workforce nearly 1 percent in 2020 from a year earlier in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a corporate tracker said Wednesday.
According to CEO Score, 309 out of the country’s top 500 corporations had a combined headcount of 1,203,835 as of the end of March, down 0.8 percent or 9,756 from end-December 2019.
The number of their regular workers declined 1 percent to around 1.13 million over the cited period, with that of irregular employees edging up to 72,527 from 70,573.
The 309 companies cover those that have unveiled their workforce numbers.
Companies in 14 out of the total 20 industries cut jobs over the cited period, with retailers and other distribution companies recording the largest decrease of 7.6 percent, or nearly 8,000 workers.
Lotte Shopping Co., the operator of South Korea’s biggest department store outlets, cut its payrolls by 11 percent, and GS Retail Co. reduced its workforce by 31 percent.
Also hit hard were shipbuilders, machinery makers, carmakers, auto parts manufacturers, banks, and food and beverage makers.
But IT companies increased their workforces by 2.3 percent, with service firms, pharmaceutical companies and public corporations adding to jobs.
As of end-March, tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. had a workforce of 110,963, up 6.1 percent over the cited period, the highest growth rate among the companies.
Companies that hired more employees included chip behemoth SK hynix Inc., pharmaceutical titan Samsung Biologics Co., online and mobile game developer NCSOFT Corp., and portal giant Naver.
Meanwhile, total capital spending by those firms came to 35.71 trillion won (US$31.8 billion) in the first quarter of this year, down 0.7 percent, but their spending on research and development rose 1.5 percent to 12.79 trillion won.