Punishments ordered for favoritism in hiring

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Punishments ordered for favoritism in hiring

The government said Friday it is punishing officials involved in 143 cases of unfair hiring in the public sector and is asking the police to investigate 23 cases of favoritism at state-run bodies.

Disclosing preliminary results of a probe into suspicious hiring practices in the public sector, the government said it found 2,234 cases of irregular hiring practices. Of those, 143 were serious enough for authorities to punish the people involved and 44 cases were even more serious and referred to law enforcement authorities.

A majority of the 2,234 cases, or 527, involve recruitment committee members who weren’t qualified for their jobs. The probe found 446 cases lacked recruitment requirements while 227 cases involved state-run institutions ignoring recruitment standards.

The government’s probe into hiring practices at 275 state-run agencies over a four year period from 2013 and 2017 ran from Oct. 16 until Nov. 30.

The 143 cases in which punishments will be awarded involved agency chiefs giving illegal orders to subordinates to hire someone they knew or applications faked by people in charge of personnel management.

In one case disclosed Friday, the head of a state-run institution employed a person he or she had personally known without due process for a contact position. When the contact was about to expire, the unnamed boss extended the tenure of the job. Other cases involved applicants with connections to powerful people who weren’t qualified for the jobs they received.

“Corrupt hiring practices in the public sector is a huge roadblock to our society becoming a fair society that promises healthy competition,” said the second vice finance minister, Kim Yong-jin, during a press conference at the government complex in central Seoul. The government promised to strengthen its monitoring of illicit hiring practices that have discouraged young job seekers.

The government is conducting two separate audits into hiring processes: one for 824 regional state-run bodies and the other for 272 state-funded institutions. Both audits are scheduled to be completed by year’s end.

The probes came after a string of suspicious hiring cases in the public sector hit the news. One of the most notorious cases involved Kangwon Land, the public company that runs the only casino in Korea open to Koreans. An internal audit of the company revealed that 493 out of 518 employees recruited in 2012 and 2013, or 95 percent, had powerful figures help them get jobs.

In a parliamentary address on Nov. 1, President Moon Jae-in called for the eradication of unfair hiring procedures and punishments for individuals at public institutions found guilty of engaging in such practices.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]
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