Scientist fails to secure

A jobless scientist in South Korea with a doctorate in physics applied for a street sweeper’s job amid the economic slump but failed the physical, local officials said Tuesday.

The 36-year-old was among 63 applicants — eleven of them university graduates — for five openings in Seoul’s Gangseo district. But brawn overcame brains as far as the scientist was concerned. Applicants had to carry two sandbags each weighing 20kg (44 pounds) over their shoulders to simulate stacking garbage bags, before dashing back and forth over 25 meters (yards) with another sandbag on their shoulder.

The scientist, identified only as Kim, was three seconds too slow in the dash, Chung Young-Ik, an official in charge, told the AFP. ‘I carded in poor results,’ a dejected Kim told journalists.

The district office said an average 12.6 people vied for each sweeper’s job this year compared to eight last year. The 33 million won ($25,000) average starting salary for a sweeper is more than fresh graduates earn in large businesses, Chung said. The job is also very secure, allowing people to work until they turn 60. South Korea’s economy generated 78,000 new jobs in November, down from 97,000 created the previous month, as companies avoid hiring amid the ongoing economic slump, the National Statistics Office said.

Job growth has been one of the top priorities for the government of President Lee Myung-bak, who took office in February. Lee has said he aims to create around 2,00,000 new jobs annually.

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