+ A

Stop reckless increase in jobs

June 15,2017
The data on public-sector jobs as of 2015 released by Statistics Korea on Tuesday supports the rationale against the reckless increase in public employees. President Moon Jae-in in his first address to the National Assembly sought bipartisan support to add 12,000 jobs through an extra budget on the previous day.

The public-sector payroll reached 2.33 million as of 2015, placing one in 11 people with jobs on government payrolls, which are jobs for life, or until the legal retirement age of 60. While the number of employees who worked for 20 years or more made up a mere 6.4 percent of the working population, the share was 23.1 percent among public-sector employees.

Among 1.99 million government employees, those having worked for 10 years or longer made up 62.2 percent. In state or quasi-state institutions, the share of employees who worked three years or less accounted for 70 percent. Government employees remained intact amid job insecurity that’s been prevalent in the corporate sector since the 1997 financial crisis.

Outsized public-sector jobs that do not prioritize productivity and performance and come with life-long job security can weigh on the economy and heavily burden tax revenue. Hiring in the public sector must be discreet as each government job can last 20 to 30 years.

It is true that repeating the textbook-like theory that jobs can be created through the promotion of corporate investment and business start-ups does not produce immediate results. It is understandable that the government wishes to provide a breakthrough in the labor market bottleneck by increasing jobs in the public sector and more work opportunities for young, female and senior workers.

But there are a handful of cases of governments running into bankruptcy through populist actions by digging into excess tax reserves. Enlarging government employees and organization without regard for efficiency and service quality standards could end up only reducing that many jobs in the private sector.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 14, Page 30