A piece of unpleasant news for the heads of Samsung Group, the conglomerate that towers over the South Korean corporate landscape: Samsung Electronics is no longer the top pick for the nation’s young job-seekers.
Korean Air has emerged as the most favored company to work for, stripping Samsung of the honored mantle for the first time in 10 years, according to a recent survey of 1,106 college students.
Samsung ranked second this year, according to the survey by online recruiting agency www.incruit.com.
“It’s a bit surprising that young people no longer pick Samsung as their favorite company to work for,” said Jang Jae-sup, a spokesman for Incruit.
“This may signal a change in their choice for work from simply a high-paying job, typically Samsung, to the availability of more benefits,” he said.
The survey showed 7.1% of the respondents selected Korean Air as the best workplace, and among those, more than a fifth cited the airline’s employee welfare and other benefits such as deep discounts for air tickets as key reasons for their choice.
Korean Air ranked third in last year’s survey. Samsung was the favorite workplace for 5.9% of respondents.
“A perception among young job-seekers that Samsung is a sweat shop, where you have to work harder and longer hours than in other companies for more money, has been strengthened,” said Mr. Jang.
He also said the surveyed college students took into consideration the uncertainty surrounding the health of Samsung’s chairman, Lee Kun-hee, who’s been in care since falling into coma May 10, and the future of the group.
Mr. Lee fell into coma after showing symptoms of cardiac arrest. He recently regained consciousness but still has trouble communicating, doctors said.
According to the survey, KB Kookmin Bank ranked third, followed by AmorePacific Corp., a cosmetics firm.
Food manufacturer CJ CheilJedang came in fifth, followed by steelmaker Posco.
Hyundai Motor, the nation’s top auto maker, ranked ninth, down two notches from last year.
“Female students avoid Hyundai because of the perception that its corporate culture is that of a strict top-down military one,” said Mr. Jang.