Los Angeles Times

In a tough market, young South Koreans are vying for the security of government work

SEOUL, South Korea - For more than three years, 26-year-old Juhee Kim has been studying full time for an exam that feels like her only shot at a good life in South Korea.

She's lost count of how many times she's taken the nation's civil service exam and failed - though she knows it's been at least 10. She's not sure what she'll do if she fails again, so she figures that spending more than eight hours a day studying for her next try, on April 6, makes sense.

Kim hopes to become a government tax clerk, which offers a starting salary of about $17,000, and work for the government until retirement.

"There just aren't other good jobs," she said in a phone interview from her home in Seoul, where she lives with her

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