Over 8,000 KT staff have applied for an early-retirement scheme since April 10 amid heavy downsizing at the mobile carrier. During two previous restructuring drives the numbers were 5,505 in 2003 and 5,992 in 2009.
A total of 8,320 workers with service period of 15 years or more want to accept the offer, the firm said on Monday.
They are on average 51 years old and have worked for the company for 26 years. Those in their 50s accounted for 69 percent and the other 31 percent are in their 40s.
If all the applicants leave the firm, KT will reduce staff numbers from 32,188 to 23,868, and the average age from 46.3 to 44.5.
The huge number of applicants is due to the generous severance pay of W170 million in addition to retirement benefits, a KT spokesman said.
KT expects the scheme to reduce labor costs by W700 billion a year even though it will cost over W1 trillion in the short term.
The telecom wants to fill the immediate manpower vacuum with contractors.