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2017-11-23 16:33
On July 27 and 28, President Moon Jae-in met with top executives of the 15 largest family-run conglomerates for the first time since he took office in May.

There was a featured guest. The CEO of Ottogi ― a midsize business group and Korea’s second-largest instant noodle maker ― attended the event. The reason: the food maker marked the lowest ratio of non-regular workers at 1.16 percent, compared with the average of 40.7 percent among companies with 5,000 employees or more.

The meager contribution made by the nation’s largest chaebol to creating jobs has remained unchanged or even aggravated, government data showed.

According to Statistics Korea, Tuesday, the number of employed people totaled 23.23 million last year, up only 220,000 from 2015. While small and midsize enterprises added 319,000 new jobs, large companies and nonprofit firms cut the number by 85,000 and 16,000, respectively.

The state statistics agency attributed the fall of hiring by big businesses to the massive restructuring of the shipping and shipbuilding sectors as well as an overall slump in the manufacturing industry. The drop of new employment by large conglomerates is a bad sign for President Moon’s priority policy to increase the number of decent jobs.

However, it has long ceased to be news that revenue soars but jobs fall among chaebol affiliates. According to CEO SCORE, a chaebol watch group, the operating profits of the subsidiaries of the 30 largest chaebol in the first half of this year jumped 48 percent from a year ago to 53.1 trillion won ($48.3 billion). Their combined employment, however, dropped 0.4 percent to 963,580, over the cited period.

The government is right in this regard to move toward far bolder cut-downs of administrative red tape to encourage big businesses shy of making new investments.

Also welcome is the latest decision by the Ministry of Employment and Labor to make it mandatory for large companies to disclose their employment pattern and payment system regularly.

Business associations and media outlets accuse the move of excessive pressurization on the private sector.

Carrot and stick should go together if a policy is to get anywhere, and this applies to the attempt to rectify selfish acts by chaebol.

 

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