The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday on the fevered scramble among young Koreans for civil service jobs as private-sector jobs have become extremely tough to find.
In a recent civil service exam, "more than 200,000 people applied, and the 4,953 highest-scoring candidates were hired for open positions -- an acceptance rate of 2.4 percent," only slightly smaller than for the elite university of Harvard (4.59 percent).
The newspaper cited the sputtering Korean economy and intensifying competition with China as the main reasons that send young people into the arms of safe government jobs.
Referring to the Moon Jae-in administration's efforts to encourage private-sector hiring by providing corporate incentives, the daily said, "Stopgap measures won't do much to fix the problems underlying the push for government jobs."
"The desire for stability and security starts so young that one in four middle school students say they dream of one day becoming not a K-pop star or the next Steve Jobs, but a public sector bureaucrat, according to a government survey from 2017," it added.
People line up to take a prep-course for civil service exams in Seoul, in this undated photo.