Top Stories


    Jul 02, 2015

    Netizens blast S. Korean govt over 'surgery for jobseekers'


    THE Ministry of Employment and Labour in South Korea was caught in a controversy this week, after it published a blog post describing a "preferable appearance" for job applicants, stoking criticism that it encouraged plastic surgery.

    The post, titled "Plastic surgery became one of the seven prerequisites to gaining employment", was written by an intern reporter and uploaded on Tuesday to its official blog.

    It contained advice from those who had gone under the knife to improve their job prospects. Underscoring the importance of one's appearance in securing a job, the post said that cosmetic surgery was aimed at enhancing their looks for employment, and not to look like a celebrity.

    The blog post also featured photos of a man and a woman considered ideal as job candidates, highlighting specific facial features deemed to be favoured by companies.

    The post quickly went viral, with netizens blasting the ministry for promoting plastic surgery for jobseekers and bolstering discrimination against job candidates by appearance.

    In recent years, South Korea has seen increasing reports of young job hunters choosing to have plastic surgery to boost their chances of landing a job in the competitive market.

    Korea's unemployment rate for those between 15 and 29 years of age stood at 9.3 per cent as of May.

    The ministry deleted the post an hour after it was uploaded on the blog and Twitter, saying it was a "misunderstanding".

    "The writer explained that the post was aimed at encouraging jobseekers to make a good impression by practising, not by going through cosmetic surgery," the ministry said in a press release.

    "Regardless of our initial intention, the blog post could be seen as promoting plastic surgery, so we deleted the post to avoid causing controversy," it added, vowing to take more care in the content uploaded by intern reporters on the blog.

    It is not the first time that the ministry has created a stir. Last year, it published a post on sexual discrimination during the hiring process.

    On its job portal Worknet, the ministry uploaded a post giving jobseekers advice for interviews. According to the post, female job candidates were advised to tell interviewers that they do not have a boyfriend or marriage plans, noting that companies are reluctant to hire a woman who has plans to get married.

    The ministry said at the time that it would ramp up its sexual discrimination education efforts for employees.


    For more reports on the go, check out the "MyPaper" iOS and Android apps.