Korean companies worry about social integration of new recruits in Covid-19 era

2023.02.06 10:25:01 | 2023.02.06 10:27:30

Students in the so-called “Class of Covid-19” have been affected by the pandemic as they engage less in offline classes and activities. [Photo by Kim Ho-young]이미지 확대

Students in the so-called “Class of Covid-19” have been affected by the pandemic as they engage less in offline classes and activities. [Photo by Kim Ho-young]



South Korean companies and their human resources (HR) departments are facing the challenge of recruiting fresh out of college students of their desire as they worry about their lack of social integration and on-site experience due to years of Covid-19 isolation.

According to survey conducted by job portal Incruit upon request by Maeil Business Newspaper on 442 HR managers at Korean companies, 53.8 percent of the respondents raised concerns about students that joined universities between Covid-19 years of 2015 and 2023 “lacking competitiveness.”

Students in the so-called “Class of Covid-19” have been affected by the pandemic as they engage less in offline classes and activities. All of their experiences during university years, including military service and internships, were with the pandemic. Corporate HR managers are worried that they would lack competitiveness when they join the workforce after graduation.

Social and adaptive skills were their biggest concern.

The survey showed that 65.6 percent of the respondents said the students may find it hard to mingle in the workplace and 52.7 percent said they might not be good at teamwork.

“Many HR managers are worried as (students now) are used to online classes. They also lack group work experience,” said an unnamed HR manager at a conglomerate.

Some managers even noted that the students may even fall behind others in terms of academic knowledge as universities switched to absolute grading system from relative grading after the classes went online, allowing professors to give top grades to more students.

Nine out of 10 HR managers said that university grades no longer serve as a relevant yardstick. Social experience, in the meantime, has become more important, but this too, has been a challenge to many students as there is less opportunity due to social distancing.

Companies are engaged in efforts to expand internal communication activities for the new recruits.

“Key job training sessions are now held face to face after the lift in the indoor mask mandate,” said an unnamed HR manager. “We are also preparing a special training program for the incoming employees to enhance their capacity.”

By Song Min-geun and Choi Jieun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]