[EDITORIALS]Let public sector bubble popDowntown Seoul will likely be filled with civil worker hopefuls on Oct. 1, shortly before the Chuseok holiday. Around 150,000 young people will flock to Seoul from around the country in order to take tests to become civil service workers. The tickets for the Korea Train Express from Busan to Seoul on that day were sold out two months ago.
Jobs in the public sector, such as as teachers and civil workers, are increasingly popular. Private institutes for civil worker tests are also more popular than ever before. A Web site for people who want to become clerk-level civil workers has 270,000 members. According to the Korea National Statistical Office, 260,000 people, nearly half of the 530,000 job-seekers, are preparing to become either teachers or civil service workers.
This is mostly because there are not enough “decent” jobs. At the top 30 conglomerates and financial companies, 270,000 positions disappeared over seven years after 1997. The jobless rate for the youth is more than 7 percent and more than 120,000 people have given up finding jobs.
The primary responsibility lies with the government, which cannot provide a good business environment. However, hundreds of thousands of people flocking into the public sector is a problem in itself. In advanced countries, public sectors keep decreasing so the talented youth is encouraged to flock to the private sector. But it is the other way around for us. The major reason for this is that people want to get a job where they do not need to worry about being fired once they have been hired.
It is worrisome that the young want to compromise over reality. As the young want only the best jobs, small and medium-sized companies or jobs that require laborious work have to depend on immigrant workers. The future of the country is dark if our young people are afraid of fierce competition in the private sector and avoid jobs that require challenges and creativity.
The government holds the largest responsibility. This administration has broadened the public sector, saying the government can do what the private sector cannot. As the size of the administration has increased, the government has created more regulations and raised wages and pensions in the public sector, so people naturally prefer jobs in the public field.
It is not too late for the government to fix this distorted situation.
The government should let the bubble pop in the public sector and help the private sector create more jobs.