One in five major conglomerates will either cut back on new hires or freeze recruitment in the first half of this year, according a survey of 200 top businesses by the Korea Economic Research Institute.
Some 13 percent said they will cut back on new hires and nine percent said they are not hiring at all in the first half, bringing the total to 22 percent. That is double the proportion as last year.
Only 11 percent said they plan to boost hiring, while the rest said they are not sure how many workers they will hire by the end of June.
Asked why, companies said they expect economic conditions at home and abroad to get worse, and 31 percent cited restructuring and financial difficulties.
Yoo Hwan-ik at KERI said things are looking better for the second half. "Exports have risen for five straight months and global economic conditions are improving, which should lead to a growth in new hires later this year."