Fewer than 10 people have applied for the job as chairman of the state-run National Pension Service, Yonhap News Agency said on June 12.

According to the government and financial industry sources, several officials, academics and financial figures filed applications with the NPS executive recommendation committee before the June 12 closing date, the news agency reported.

One of the sources said that the total number of candidates is less than 10.

South Korea’s pension plan initially began recruiting candidates for the job from April 14 to 28, but later decided to seek other candidates.

The post of NPS chairperson has been vacant since January 7, when the former chairman Kim Sung-ju stepped down to run in the April 15 general elections.

Some senor secretaries of the Blue House, the Korean presidential office, who were originally mentioned as candidates, reportedly did not apply again this time.

The screening of candidates is conducted behind closed doors and usually takes about a month. The Minister of Health and Welfare will recommend the final candidate to President Moon Jae-in who will appoint the next chairman. If no qualified person is found, recruitment will begin again.

The chairman will serve for three years and he or she may be reappointed on a yearly basis depending on the results of the management performance evaluation. (Reporting by Kyoungho Lee)