Job seekers willing to use friends to get jobs

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Job seekers willing to use friends to get jobs

According to a survey by online job portal Saramin released on Wednesday, more than half of Korean job seekers said they wouldn’t mind lobbying corporate officials for a job.

The survey asked about 700 job seekers if they have ever personally approached an official, and 140 respondents said they have tried it with managerial-level workers and executives, most of whom they knew before applying at the company.

Out of the 140, 16 percent said that asking for a job led to their immediate employment without undergoing a hiring process.

The job seekers said they most frequently solicited work from people they knew outside of their professional life, such as friends from school, relatives and acquaintances from religious or hobby groups.

An additional 390 respondents said they would lobby an official to give them a job if they thought it would help their chances.

The reasons they gave were surprising because they showed how morality loses out in a tough employment situation and how soliciting actually helps job candidates pass the screening process.

The biggest problem lies in the fact that job seekers consider knowing someone at a company another “spec” that could lead to their employment.

The 390 respondents explained that they consider knowing people at their potential employer an extra credential, and some said they wouldn’t hesitate to use that advantage because it is not illegal.

More than 50 percent of those 390 said they are willing to do anything to get a job, adding that they are being held back by excessive competition for jobs even though they have relevant job skills.

This severe competition in the local job market is what leads young people to voluntarily abandon fair competition.

People looking for jobs know that solicit-based hiring and parachute appointments are unfair - they criticize government officials and politicians for the same reason.

But even so, young people are almost forced to follow along just to survive due to the lack of stable jobs that offer reasonable pay.

The unemployment rate has continued to rise since President Park Geun-hye took office early last year. But many unemployed people are worried that the low-paying part-time positions that conglomerates created due to government pressure may only result in lowering the overall quality of part-time jobs.

From an employer’s point of view, companies can’t create an infinite number of stable, highly-paid positions with their limited resources. They are also under pressure to maintain the job quality of their workers by raising salaries regularly and ensuring retirement by age 60.

Though the standard of living is high for salaried workers, it is obvious that part-time contract workers will not be a priority to their employer.

On online recruiting sites, job seekers say they flock to a small number of positions at major conglomerates available during seasonal hiring sessions because they want job security.

Against that backdrop, a remark by the deputy prime minister of the economy, Choi Kyung-hwan, on Tuesday gave young unemployed people some hope.

He said that next year, the government will overhaul the labor market by slowing the rate of pay raises to help create more salaried openings instead of contract-based part-time work.

The average Korean worker wants to see a narrower salary gap between regular and contract workers, which can’t happen unless the labor market overhaul is completed.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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