Hiring system must changeThe nepotism scandal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was only the tip of the iceberg. Recruitment corruption proved to be pervasive in governments across the nation. Seongnam, Gyeonggi employed 20 sons and daughters of senior officials and their relatives through the back door. The secretary of a former mayor, an election camp official, a city councilman and the head of a public enterprise board easily found jobs for their children at city hall. The municipal office handed out job placements as if it were their prerogative. Similar recruitment scams in municipal or provincial government jobs in Seoul, Busan, Gyeonggi Province, Gangwon Province and South Jeolla Province were unearthed. Modern “blood royals” were rampant in government offices.
The Bucheon city government offered a safe haven for job-seekers with connections. A cultural foundation affiliated to the city secured 46 jobs - 30 percent of its 165 staff - for sons and daughters of city councilmen and even some related to the former mayor. Another public entity serving the city’s infrastructure also handed out 24 of 150 jobs on its payroll to those related to city councilmen and legislators. The city even skipped basic recruitment procedures. In May, it hired eight employees without notifying job placements as well as application and interview procedures. It used recruitment as a campaign tool before the mayoral and gubernatorial elections.
The recruitment scam is also common on university campus. Seoul National University is suspected of bending recruitment regulations in hiring staff for the last four years. Its regulation requires half of the selection panel to be comprised of nonuniversity figures. But it was actually manned by university professors and staff members. Some 57 employees, or 82 percent of those hired for job experience, were hired through such means. It is no wonder employees at the elite school are mostly picked among alumni.
It is shocking to learn that recruitment corruption is so widespread and common in many corners of the society. What use is the government catchphrase of creating a fair society when it sells jobs through the back door? Authorities and auditors must take pains to root out corruption while keeping the just doors open to select specialists from diverse background. The decision by the ruling party and government to nullify its plan to increase the job quota for midlevel civil servants because of recent scandals is cowardly and immature.
What authorities must enhance is transparency and fairness in recruitment. They must destroy corruption to the core and revamp the entire recruitment system. It is the duty of the state to sift through and hire new talents. It must pursue the job with vision, discipline and philosophy.