Samsung staff fear the axe in annual reshuffle

Staff are working overtime while facing potentially high job losses following Samsung's poor financial year.

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Employees at Samsung are expecting the firm's annual reshuffle to cost many jobs due to poor smartphone sales and weak financial reports.

The South Korean electronics giant is expected to announce personnel changes in early December, as reported by Reuters. While this announcement is customary, in 2014, staff have "never been so anxious" as poor company performance is expected to result in high job losses.

According to one unnamed Samsung employee, "people are very uneasy; even the senior management are asking around about what might be coming."

In Samsung's third quarter financial report, the company revealed a net profit slide of 49 percent based on Q3 2013 results.

The Maeil Business Newspaper reports that the company could cut as much as 20 percent of executive positions across the board, including 30 percent from its struggling mobile division.

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Samsung's mobile unit has fared poorly this year due to falling sales in both the US and China, the firm's largest mobile device markets. Stiff competition from the likes of Apple and China's entry-level smartphone maker Xiaomi has placed pressure on Samsung's mobile unit to do well. However, with 40 percent fewer flagship Galaxy S5 models being sold than expected in the United States — as well as predicted sales in China plunging by 50 percent — a shake-up is on the cards.

As previously reported by ZDNet , internal talks held at the company may result in shifting co-chief executive Jong-Kyun Shin from his role as mobile chief. In one scenario, BK Yoon, leader of Samsung's home-appliance and television business may be asked to also oversee the firm's mobility business.

Another Samsung employee told the news agency:

We talk a lot about which of the senior executives will still be with us. What happens to them will determine how we will need to work.

A third employee said that management is distracted to the point where the main workforce is being required to work overtime to keep major projects on track.

In related news, the electronics giant is selling off its defense business due to restructuring efforts. Samsung Techwin, Samsung General Chemicals, Samsung Total, and Samsung Thales will be handed over to Hanwha affiliates for 1.9 trillion won ($1.7 billion), and following regulatory approval, the deal will close in the first half of 2015.

Read on: In the enterprise