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Thousands with master's or Ph.D.s vie for Taipower maintenance jobs

Eleven people with doctoral degrees and 2,138 people with master's degrees applied to be wire line technicians for Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台電) so far this year, according to the state-run utility.

 Despite the decreasing unemployment rate, there have been more and more people with advanced degrees participating in civil service examinations in recent years. Taipower, a state-run enterprise that has benefits similar to what civil service employees receive, is extremely attractive to potential employees.

Based on Taipower statistics, the number of applications for new job openings dramatically increased to 20,000 so far this year; — a new record for the company.

 The more than 20,000 people were applying for a mere 830 new job openings, with an acceptance rate of 6.11 percent, according to Taipower.

 The examination was open to senior high school graduates. Those who pass the exam can earn from NT$23,000 to NT$27,000 during their trial period. The salary can potentially rise to NT$30,000 per month once they become formal employees.

 “Private companies don't provide the same level of profit and security as state-run enterprises. Most jobs in the private sector require long working hours and high levels of responsibility that is not equivalent to the pay we receive,” one examinee said.

 Passing the exam, however, is not an easy task. Examinees have to do 10 split jumps within 40 seconds, scramble through 4-meter-high scaffolding and strip a specified amount of wire during the testing process.

 The job environment has many possible dangers, including unforeseeable weather and the possibility of electrocution. Nonetheless, the work still appeals to groups of white-collar workers such as teachers and engineers who are interested in a change of vocation.

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