SK: Gen Z Demands Force Corporate Changes

Bloomberg headline: Gen Z’s Workplace Demands Force Corporate Korea to Loosen Up

Subheadline: Samsung and Hyundai no longer lead “dream employer” surveys

The chaebol’s culture of absolute deference toward seniors, particularly those related to the founders, is now seen as problematic, hindering innovation and good decision-making. Senior executives and scions of founding families are now eager to present themselves as friendly and accessible rather than remote or, worse, prone to abuse of privilege. Many still remember the public backlash following the 2014 “nut rage” incident, an in-flight tantrum by a Korean Air executive and heiress of the airline’s parent Hanjin Group.

At Hyundai Motor Group, Executive Chairman Euisun Chung, who is also the grandson of the founder, now regularly meets low-level employees, which Leaders Index’s Park says “would have been unimaginable in Hyundai’s previously extreme, conservative culture.”

It sounds as though many young South Koreans have dusted off that early 1960s tome popular with new hippies, “Steppenwolf” by Herman Hesse:

As elsewhere, a prolonged pandemic has prompted South Korea’s young professionals to reassess their career choices. A Job Korea survey of office workers at major companies in April found that 90% were interested in changing jobs, up from 69% a year earlier. Among the top reasons was dissatisfaction with the corporate culture.