According to a survey of 3,294 senior in university and graduates nationwide, the employment environment of college graduates this year was much more difficult than last year(41.1 percent). Under these circumstances nowadays, many university students are taking civil service exams. The examinees are composed of 51.3 percent in grade nine civil service workers, followed by 38.3 percent in grade seven and 6.5 percent in grade five. Why are so many university students trying to become civil servants?
University students preparing for the civil service exams responded that they truly want to be civil service workers, and 68.4 percent of the respondents thought that they chose the best option because civil service guarantees job security in South Korea. As you well know, many private enterprises in South Korea don’t offer their employees the policy of age limit, that is, a sort of mandatory retirement age. From the perspective of employees, such an unstable working condition in private enterprises is undesirable. For this reason, nearly 70 percent of the respondents think that it would be ideal to secure regular work that guarantee worker’s position with a government mandated age-limit policy. Making this difficult choice is understandable, given that we are living in an age when most workers are concerned about an unwanted or unexpected situation in which they might be forced to retire early.
The second reason of “why I want to become a public service worker?” is the pension. 51.4 percent of the respondents chose this reason for the above question. In an era of rapid growth, but not delayed retirement age, pensions are a very important factor when looking for jobs. Also, pension is a very important factor for a well-to-do life following retirement in era of increased the average span of a man’s life. Because of the pension as well as the guarantee of retirement, students regard becoming a civil service worker as more beneficial and desirable.
According to the audit data submitted by the Government Employees Pension Service to the National Assembly, each recipient of the public service worker’s pension receives an average of 2.4 million won per month. You may underestimate that amount of money; however, compared to last year’s average monthly amount of approximately 370,000 won for the national pension recipients, the civil service worker’s retirement pension is significantly better. It is also worth noting that the highest earning national pension recipient still receives less than the civil service worker pension recipient.
The next reason for the increasing number of civil service exam takers is the perception that being a civil servant will guarantee their ability to maintain their private life, leisure, etc. These days, achieving a work-life balance is more important than earning a high salary. Therefore, although the salaries are relatively small, students would prefer to become civil servants and improve their quality of life. Lots of university students aim to be civil servants in order to have a stable full-time job, while being able to also focus on their home life or marriage, family, self-development and hobbies.
Statistically, one out of every five workers in South Korea works overtime. In addition, the nation ranked second in the world in terms of annual working hours. The OECD announced that South Koreans work about 2,113 hours per year. Unlike the average private enterprises, public servants work relatively little overtime. In such a tough milieu of labor, many university student’s choice or hope to get a civil service job seems to be pervasive.
Current university students saw their parents lose their jobs at the time of IMF. How come it’s natural to think that the generation who went through the IMF and grew up with the pain of today’s youth and young Koreans want to become civil servants and have to be civil servants?