SEOUL, July 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Nearly half of South Korea’s top 30 business groups reduced their workforces in 2014 due to sluggish business, data showed Sunday, despite the government’s effort to spur their employment.
As of end-December, the combined workforce of the leading business groups came to 1.27 million, up a mere 0.6 percent, or 8,017 workers, from a year earlier, according to the data by Chaebol.com, which tracks large businesses in the country.
Of the total family-controlled conglomerates, known here as chaebol, 14 slashed their payrolls last year compared with the previous year.
They included telecom giant KT Group, which eliminated more than 7,000 jobs, or 10.6 percent of its staff, through a massive voluntary retirement program.
Among the 16 conglomerates that increased their payrolls last year were Hyundai Motor Group, Lotte Group and Samsung Group.
Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s fifth-largest automaker, had a workforce of 162,527 as of end-2014, up 5.1 percent from a year earlier. Hyundai Motor Group reported the highest increase rate among the 16.
Retail giant Lotte Group saw its payroll rise by 5,455 to 96,442 over the cited period, with Samsung’s workforce climbing by 2,459 to 265,324, according to the data.
The government has been urging large business groups and financial firms to increase hiring in an effort to kick-start the slumping economy and reduce high youth unemployment.