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Companies Giving Retirees New Hope

Posted August. 30, 2005 06:50,   


Companies are beginning to offer their retired employees a supporting program, which covers a variety of activities such as helping them find new employment, operating retirees’ gatherings, and companies’ rehiring of retired employees. This action that is welcomed by employees now is a great development because the government or social organizations usually have conducted such activities.

The popularity of programs for retirees is rising.

Mr. S (34), a bank clerk, was fired in last March because he missed promotions several times due to disappointing business showings. As soon as he knew of his dismissal, he sought jobs to take care of his family, but it was not easy to find a new job because of the economic downturn of this nation.

He, however, received a call from the bank he worked at before in May and they asked, “Do you want to work again as a temporary worker?”

This bank has rehired six retirees including Mr. S since June, and their jobs are mostly computer work and document management.

The introduction of such programs for retirees is mainly led by companies that have implemented downsizing programs recently.

For example, SKC is operating its program after conducting a restructuring last May. SKC committed an agency to operate this program, in which about 100 persons participate. Expenses for consulting, approximately three million won per person, are paid by SKC.

Korea Technology Credit Guarantee Fund (KOTEC), which has laid off about 160 workers due to the company’s poor business performance, is busy helping its laid-off workers get hired by related companies such as credit information companies, which have many executive vocations. The KOTEC is also considering rehiring those who worked in the division of money collection, which requires skillful technique, as temporary workers.

LG Electronics is also operating an outplacement program for its retired executive workers. The program consists of three steps (arrangement, search, and new start). In regard to this, a source from the company said, “The company provides an office in which the program participants can work out of, and the program also provides participants with information about financial technology.”

The program is designed to boost current employees’ morale and share social burdens.

Companies’ programs for retirees are basically designed to relieve current employees’ uneasiness over job insecurity.

A source from one company said, “The purpose of this program is to help current employees concentrate on their work, ignoring the dismal atmosphere that can be caused by forced lay-offs of their co-workers, and give them hope for the future.” If a retiree’s position was executive or above, there is another intention of helping them cement their intimacy with the company.

For example, the Doosan Group launched “Doosanhoe,” a gathering in which 200 executives who retired last May and current chief executives take part. The company offers an office to assist their gathering, and supports events such as regular hiking outings and operating the homepage.

Companies in some advanced countries including Japan accept the fact that they should be responsible for their employees’ lives even after they are retired. Given the fact that Korea is undergoing rapid aging, it is worthy of looking into their experiences. However, there are some limits in this program. Because of financial difficulties, only a handful of companies are conducting this program now, and even those companies hire retirees only as temporary workers.

Jae-Dong Yu jarrett@donga.com