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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Jan. 30)

2018/01/30 07:00

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Unfair hiring practices

Firms operated by the state, provinces and cities went too far in giving jobs to children of influential politicians, bureaucrats and regulators. The government disclosed a report Monday that 946 of 1,190 such firms were found to have engaged in 4,788 cases of unfair hiring.

The report came after the Moon Jae-in administration launched an investigation into public firms and institutions in October to confirm allegations that they had manipulated the recruiting process to hire specific applicants who had connections with powerful people. One hiring scandal after another in state-run firms and banks has sparked anger among young people struggling to get jobs.

About 200 executives and senior officials will be sacked or referred to the prosecution for their involvement in the unfair hiring schemes. The authorities should take tougher action against them to prevent a repetition of such illegalities.

It is still vivid in our memory that President Moon promised to ensure fair employment procedures calling for the eradication of unfair hiring schemes in the public sector, and criminal punishment for those involved in such cases in his parliamentary address, Nov. 1.

The unfair hiring practice at public institutions is one of the typical cases of "deep-rooted evils" of Korean society which the Moon government is seeking to eliminate. President Moon has put top priority on the rooting-out of the accumulated evils since he took power following the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye over her massive corruption scandal.

Kangwon Land, a state-run casino operator, prompted the government investigation as it came under fire last year for hiring workers at the request of politicians, lawmakers, local councilors, bureaucrats and regulators. The Export-Import Bank of Korea, Seoul National University Hospital, and the Korea Rail Network Authority are among the public institutions hit by the recruiting scams.

Aside from public firms, banks have also come under attack for their unfair hiring practices. On Friday, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) detected 22 unfair employment cases at 11 banks over the past two months. Politicians and other influential figures pressured some banks to hire specific applicants in nine cases, while bank officials gave unduly high scores to seven graduates of prestigious universities to help them become successful candidates.

Such corrupt and unfair recruiting practices are serious crimes that will destroy the dreams of young people struggling to get jobs. The law enforcement authorities should work to combat these wrong practices and make Korea a fair and just society.