Former Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) has recently come under fire for posting a message on Facebook saying that students who participated in the Sunflower movement could face job-hunting difficulties due to their “perceived anti-establishment tendencies.”
Hu posted the comment on Monday, in which he said several high-level managers at private corporations had told him they planned to include questions such as “Did you participate in the student movement?” and “Do you support the student protesters’ anti-establishment behavior?” into their list of routine job interview questions.
“They believe participants in the movement are likelier to resign as they please or launch a campaign against the company when they encounter setbacks at work,” Hu said.
“They said their companies could not afford to have infighting at work amid a gloomy economy,” Hu wrote, adding that the negative impression attached to the movement had become a challenge that each student protester had to face once they graduated.
A netizen claiming to be an entrepreneur agreed with Hu’s opinions, saying that he would never consider hiring people who had joined the movement because their behavior indicated poor judgement, an inability to foresee the consequences of their actions, a tendency to be incited and lack of team spirit.
Others disagreed, however, saying that the student protesters had demonstrated impressive critical thinking, which would make them sought-after candidates in the job market.
Taipei Chamber of Commerce director-general Wang Ying-chieh (王應傑) said that if student leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) ever approached him seeking employment opportunities, he would undoubtedly put them on the short list.
ELIV International Service (以立國際服務), a Taiwan-based social enterprise which was recognized as a socially responsible small and medium-sized company last year by the Chinese-language monthly magazine Manager Today, posted a help-wanted advertisement on Facebook on Monday looking exclusively for participants in the movement.
Taiwanese writer and filmmaker Giddens Ko (柯景騰), better known by his pseudonym, Jiubadao (九把刀), also took issue with Hu’s comments.
“Every creator is a skeptic who spends most of their lives criticizing the world... But they are doing so for one simple reason: to try to make this world a better, better and better place,” Ko wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
“Let’s say I am looking for someone to help me make a movie. If the applicant seems okay with everything and does not have a problem or an opinion about anything, I would be very concerned because I do not see how we are ever going to make something mind-blowing together,” Ko wrote.
Hu’s comment also drew criticism from labor groups, with Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) lambasting Hu for trying to “encourage” employers not to hire students who joined the movement.
“According to the Employment Service Act (就業服務法), employers are prohibited from discriminating against any job applicant or employee on the basis of thought. Violators are punishable by a fine ranging from NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million [US$10,000 to US$50,000],” Son said.