On employment, listed companies are still struggling to get by

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A job fair held in Gangnam in April. Some 43% of listed companies said they were continuing to struggle to bring employment numbers back to pre-pandemic levels. [YONHAP]

The payroll of listed Korean companies is still lower than before the pandemic, although some have reported a recovery, according to a survey.

According to a survey by the Federation of Korean Industries released on Tuesday, 808 companies listed on Kospi and Kosdaq said their number of employees last year was lower than a year earlier. This represents 43.1% of the 1,874 companies listed on the two local stock exchanges.

The survey did not include financial companies.

Of the 696 Kospi-listed companies that were surveyed, 42.2% or 294 companies said their employees were fewer than a year earlier. Of the 1,178 Kosdaq business firms, 43.6%, or 514, said the same.

The results were an improvement from 2020, when 52% of companies said they saw their number of employees decrease year-over-year.

The number of people employed by listed companies stood at 1.48 million in 2021. Although above 1.47 million in 2020, this is lower than the almost 1.5 million employees in 2019, before Covid-19 .

The survey revealed that 26.7% or 500 companies saw their payroll decrease for two consecutive years.

The number of people employed in these 500 companies was 436,000 in 2021, 72,000 less than in 2019, a decrease of 14%.

The study also revealed that 11.2% or 210 companies saw their revenues and operating profits decline sharply.

“It is too early to say that the labor market is recovering as the number of employees in listed companies increased last year largely due to the base effect resulting from the pandemic crisis. [in 2020]said Choo Kwang-ho, head of the economic research division at the FKI.

The Korean government said the number of people employed in the country had increased for 14 consecutive months.

While the manufacturing sector has seen a recovery thanks to robust exports, most of the new jobs have been created by government programs to hire seniors and are temporary positions.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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