Sun, Aug 05, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Thousands take part in rail test

NOT DISCOURAGED Though the competition for jobs with the nation's rail company is stiff and the pay is low, 60 percent of those applying said they were highly educated

BY SHELLEY SHAN  /  STAFF REPORTER

More than 5,000 people participated in an examination held by the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday to recruit new service personnel.

The examinees were competing for a total of 265 openings for sales clerks, technicians and maintenance workers.

Yesterday's test was specifically designed for entry-level workers and was the first held for this category of workers since 2005.

The administration received applications from 6,620 participants, though only 76 percent of them showed up for the test.

While the administration only has 81 job openings for sales clerks, more than 4,500 people applied to take the qualification test in this category.

Meanwhile, around 270 people applied for 13 technician job openings and around 1,500 applied for the administration's 171 maintenance openings.

On average, the administration's acceptance rate for applications is about 5 percent. The average monthly salary for the open positions is between NT$20,000 and NT$30,000.

However, the competition and the low pay of the positions did not seem to put off some highly educated applicants, who accounted for more than 60 percent of the participants, with three possessing graduate degrees.

Because of an amendment to the Employment Services Act (就業服務法), the administration cannot establish restrictions on age and gender for the test.

The relatively stable career option of working for the nation's rail system drew applicants as disparate as 18-year-old high school graduate Yeh Ting-chun (葉盈均) and 60-year-old electrician Chiu De-hsiu (邱德修).

Applicants can be required to take either a written test or physical test, depending on the qualifications established for each position.

In the physical test designed to recruit railway maintenance workers, for example, applicants were required to be timed carrying a 40kg bag of sand and run back and forth over a distance of 25m.

The administration will make public the list of accepted candidates on Aug. 22. Those applying for positions with the administrations passenger transportation department must undergo face-to-face interviews after they pass the written test.

However, those who are accepted for jobs will be considered contractors working for the government and not official government workers, the administration said in a statement.

The test was significant event because the 120-year-old state-run corporation has a proven record of not being active in bringing in fresh faces. Last year, the Ministry of Examination held an examination to recruit 540 management-level employees for the administration, marking the first test of its kind since 1998.

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