Korea's top 20 firms' OP up 35% on average H1, hiring gain stops at 1.2%

Woo Je-yoon, Lee Sae-ha, and Jenny Lee 2022. 8. 18. 10:57
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South Korea’s top 20 companies delivered double-digit gains in top and bottom line in the first half, yet they mostly indulged their existing payroll instead of increasing hiring.

Maeil Business Newspaper discovered from studying first-half earnings reports, the combined payroll, including contract-based workers, at 20 largest companies came to 439,661, adding a mere 1.2 percent from 434,328 in the previous year.

During the same period, the top 20 earned a combined 75.31 trillion won ($57.26 billion) in operating profit, up 34.9 percent year on year. Their sale rose 25.9 percent to 711.08 trillion won.

LG Display showed the biggest addition of 10.8 percent in its payroll to 29,445 employees as of June on expansion in OLED assembly lines.

LG Chem followed in job addition (10.2%), HD Hyundai (8.2%), and Hyundai Mobis (5.7%).

Number-wise, Samsung Electronics topped by hiring 6,221 new workers within a year.

SK innovation shed the largest 47.8 percent in work force to 1,346 employees due to the spin-offs of its battery and oil exploration businesses in the first half. LG Electronics and KT followed with decreases of 11.4 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

Instead of increasing the count in payroll, the top companies bolstered salaries.

Wage increases stood out among oil refineries after ending the first half at their best.

S-Oil reported an average wage of 100.07 million won in the first half, 84.5 percent higher from the previous year. “The company paid last year’s bonus in the first half, raising the average salary,” said an official from S-Oil.

SK innovation, the parent firm of SK energy, also raised its average wage to 77 million won, up 83.3 percent from the previous year. GS Caltex increased to 85.71 million won and Hyundai Oilbank to 54 million won.

The spike in salaries in big companies would have worsened the income gap with smaller enterprises.

“The top 20 firms have the capacity to raise wages, but small companies struggle to sustain their payroll,” said Seo Yong-gu, a professor at Sookmyung Women’s University.

[ㄏ Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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