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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Dec. 12)

All Headlines 07:01 December 12, 2017

Unfair hiring at public firms

Finding a job at state-run enterprises, dubbed "workplaces given by God," is a dream of most young jobseekers today. No wonder the competition to enter the public firms is cutthroat.

Unfortunately, however, the widespread belief among young people desperate to find such jobs is that it's almost impossible for them to get a position at such firms without help from influential figures. The government's month-long investigation has proven this fomenting public anger and, especially, sighs among of those who have dropped out of the competition.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said last week it found 2,234 cases of unfair and illegal hiring at 275 public institutions, and decided to take punitive measures against officials involved in 143 of them, while referring 44 cases to law enforcement for possible criminal punishment.

Typical practices of unfair and illicit hiring of employees involve changing of standards for evaluation of applicants to benefit specific persons, and exceptional recruitment solicited by influential figures in the political or business worlds, or bribery.

It is hard to believe that many state-owned enterprises have recruited their employees through such unfair and illegal processes, even if they are run on the very money paid by people fulfilling their tax liabilities.

The case of Kangwon Land, the only casino open to Koreans, is more than enough to make people lament. Of the total 518 workers it hired in 2012 and 2013, 493 or 95 percent were found to have had the backing of "powerful" figures who helped them get jobs at the state-run casino.

We still remember that President Moon Jae-in, in his Nov. 1 parliamentary address, called for the eradication of unfair and illegal employment at public institutions and criminal punishment for those involved.

Corrupt hiring practices in the public sector not only destroy the principle of fair competition and equality of opportunity, but also create a serious obstacle to all efforts to build a fair and healthy society.

A society where young people are stripped of their dreams has no future. The unfair recruitment practices in the public sector are a target that should be eliminated at any cost as a "deep-rooted evil of the past" which the Moon administration is going all out to annihilate.
(END)

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