civil servants-increase

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- The number of public servants in South Korea is expected to surpass the 1 million mark soon, as the government plans to hire more police officers as part of efforts to guarantee public safety and security, the home affairs ministry said Sunday.

The government proclaimed on Saturday a revised law that stipulates the increase in the maximum number of public jobs under the central government by 20,000, according to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration.

The change calls for capping the number of civil servants under administrative agencies at 293,982, meaning that the number of all civil servants could top 1 million in the near future, the officials said.

As of end-November, the number of public officials amounted to 988,755. Of them, some 62 percent work under the administrative branch, including 349,917 public school teachers and 138,011 police officers and other law enforcement officials, the data showed.

"The expansion of the limit is a preliminary step mainly to increase the number of police officers by 20,000 as well as firefighters and those in charge of state welfare services in phases in line with the president's earlier pledge," said a ministry official.

President Park Geun-hye has vowed to increased the number of public jobs in the security and welfare sectors as part of efforts to guarantee safety and security of the public and to take care of people's livelihoods.

"Under the mid-term personnel plan, we will also seek efficient manpower management. Currently, the actual number of the public employees is some 24,000 less than the allowed maximum number," the official added.

The total number of employees under South Korea's general government, involving officials from central and local governments, and non-profit organizations, came to 1.39 million, or 5.7 percent of the country's economically active population, according to the data by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It fell short of the average for the OECD member countries of 15 percent.

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