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October 26, 2009

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Stampede for civil service life

IF your ambition is to be a civil servant in China, you are part of a very long queue.

For example, a single position available in the Ministry of Science and Technology has attracted more than 4,000 applicants, according to the organizer of this year's civil service examinations.

A total of 1.35 million people signed up to sit the exams to become a national civil servant working for central government agencies when online applications closed on Saturday.

The number is well up on last year's 1.04 million.

The 2010 central government recruitment drive is offering about 15,500 positions, roughly 2,000 more than last year.

Among the applicants, about 61 percent have had two years of work experience and more than 1.24 million hold bachelor's degrees or higher.

A total of 4,224 applicants signed up to compete for the Ministry of Science and Technology position, ranking the most popular government post among exam takers.

Positions with Customs were also popular.

A position with Xiamen Customs attracted 13,705 applicants for four vacancies.

"Government jobs are steady, which is especially precious in a job market hit by the financial crisis," said Hong Xiangyang, a senior consultant of Shanghai Sunward Career Consultant Co.

Zhu Xiaying, a university graduate who has applied for the exams, concurred.

"Government jobs are popular because of good pension plans and handsome salaries," Zhu said.

"The problem is that many positions require working experience, which makes it hard for graduate students."

However, there are people who hold different views.

"I don't think a job as a civil servant is as good as most people make it out to be," said Joshua Chen, who was recruited as a civil servant in Shanghai three years ago.

"I do routine work every day and I can't see prospects for future promotion."

Hong said: "The most important thing for applicants is to evaluate whether the job suits them.

"The career lives for civil servants depend on many things, including their capabilities and working attitude.

"It doesn't mean that everyone who passes the exam and is recruited as a civil servant is guaranteed a bright future."

Applicants will sit written exams on November 29.

Results for written exams will be announced at the end of this year or early next year and those who pass will enter the interview round.

China has held civil servant recruitment examinations every year since 1994.


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