The new Korean government calling for the enforcement of “blind screening” in hiring new employees in the public sector last month has induced a hot debate among job seekers and university students, dividing into different opinions concerning the executive order.
Blind screening is when one does not submit their academic backgrounds or hometown, unless they are applying for jobs that specifically request the information. The name derives from the point that the employers pick their workers as if they were blind, choosing workers based on ability instead of personal or academic ties.
Staring last August, 332 public agencies as well as 149 local public enterprises have adopted the new system and in the second half of this year, the numbers are expected to hit 10,000.
“I hope to immediately introduce the system to ensure fair competition, strictly based on skills and abilities,” said President Moon Jae-in at a weekly meeting with his top secretaries, according to presidential office reports.
Employing workers without considering their academic and personal ties is expected to eradicate prejudice.
“The merits of consanguinity, school ties, and regionalism in Korean society can be abolished through this since companies will sincerely consider the person, not their paperwork,” said Shin He-rin, a freshman at Seokyeong University.
However, some are complaining about the vagueness of the guidelines of blind screening.
For a start, in 2004, Korea Worker’s Compensation & Welfare Service and Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation, along with nine other public institutions erased education level and age as qualifications for recruitment. In 2005, the civil service examination took out education requirements and enforced blind screening interviews with written exams for all applicants.
Also in 2007, after reforms of the criterion for selection, keeping antiquated notions of eligibility regarding gender, physical ability, appearance, level of education, and age was banned and in 2015, recruitment criteria have been based on the National Competency Standards (NCS) for a better and fairer process.
Nevertheless, the system is currently keep different standards at each company, which may cause confusion. Even similar companies such as the Busan Transportation Corporation and Korean National Railroad (KORAIL) have different criteria.
Moreover, especially students who attend the nation’s top ranking universities are skeptical of the system, since the enormous effort to obtain a top university graduate’s diploma will be turned to dust if employers pick workers with the blind screening system.
“I see no reason as to why the new system is a merit for everyone,” said Jeong Sung-hwa, freshman at Korea University. “It looks as if the government is playing student oriented probability games like Russian roulette under the theme of employment.”
Other expected side effects are that if the qualification of applications is eased to a “blind point,” the number of applicants will skyrocket, raising the recruitment cost for the public agencies.
Also, with the huge amount of people pouring in to sign up, the management of recruitment may become very difficult.
In the case of students, many graduates who worked for good GPAs and many certificates complain of injustice since their efforts will not see any advantage under the system. They may be treated the same as students who did not achieve good grades in their school years.
Though the government has been implementing the system since 2005, the method has been applied irregularly and managed poorly. The government has announced that it will produce and hand out guidelines that reflect field experts’ opinions and subsidize application turnovers and consultants. Along with this, monitoring of the system’s practice and seeking companies that apply the system will be supported, leaving the debate to be continued.