Post-Games anxiety grips junior Bocog employees

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 12:00am

With the nation still revelling in the glory of hosting its first Olympics, many of those who worked for years to make it happen are looking anxiously to the future.

The manner in which the Beijing Games were run was highly different from that of previous Olympics. While local organisers were mainly independent institutions operated by professional event promoters and designers with a certain level of state backing, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games has been completely under government control since being formed in 2001.

Among the 4,000-plus Bocog employees, up to 3,000 were 'borrowed' from government agencies for their political loyalty and proficiency.

For instance, Beijing handpicked Yu Jianping, a senior PLA engineer who played a key role in the country's military-led manned space programme, as the logistics chief for the opening and closing ceremonies.

With the Olympic flame out, these Bocog staff members, whose positions had been preserved on the government's orders, are poised to return to their old institutions, though most still have Paralympic duties.

'I will be returning to the foreign ministry after the Paralympics,' said Sun Weide , the high-profile spokesman for the Games, who had been the public face of the Chinese embassy in the United States before joining Bocog in 2005. 'I hope I will have some holidays in between.'

Theoretically, working for the Olympics will help with future promotion in government departments or state-owned enterprises. But two Bocog officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said there was no guarantee of this.

'It depends on whether your boss values the Olympic experience or not,' said one Bocog media official about to rejoin his state-run newspaper. 'Normally, if you had already been a senior cadre in your old organisation before the Bocog experience, you would enjoy a better chance of further promotion. But for small potatoes, the decision-making for promotion is very arbitrary.'

The future is even more uncertain for the remaining 1,000-plus Bocog employees plucked from the mainland's vast job market.

In an apparent attempt to raise the morale of its workforce in the run-up to the Games, the organising body announced in March that 47 state-owned enterprises, including such mammoth companies as Sinopec and Sinochem, had reached an agreement with Bocog to help 'resettle' some of its staff after the Games.

Competition for jobs has increased in recent years because of the slowing economy and an ever-expanding talent pool, triggering concerns among some Bocog employees over their post-Games careers.

'There will be 1,500 positions on offer, more than enough to meet the demand of the 1,000-plus Bocog employees who were not affiliated to any state-owned institutions,' said Xu Zhijun, deputy head of the Bocog human resources department.

But to some of the Bocog employees concerned, the move looks like a placebo rather than an actual cure.

'We read this from the newspapers,' said one official. 'And there has been no follow-up since then. We haven't been informed about when the recruitment will start.'

Mr Xu admitted no timetable had been set for the resettlement of Bocog employees. 'It might take place after the Paralympics, but nothing for sure,' he said.

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