News / Asia

Record Numbers of Chinese Want to Be Bureaucrats

Candidates prepare to take the Chinese civil service examinations in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, November 27, 2011.Candidates prepare to take the Chinese civil service examinations in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, November 27, 2011.
x
Candidates prepare to take the Chinese civil service examinations in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, November 27, 2011.
Candidates prepare to take the Chinese civil service examinations in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, November 27, 2011.
VOA News
In China, economic uncertainties and increased competition in the private sector are pushing a record number of graduates toward less remunerative but more stable government jobs.

More than 1.5 million people registered for this year's national civil service exam, which was held throughout China Sunday. The number is 20 times greater than it was a decade ago. Other exams are being administered for provincial and local government positions throughout the country.

But only about one percent of the applicants will ultimately secure a government position.

Benefits

Liu Jiehua, professor of population studies at Beijing University, says that Chinese university graduates, who this year number a record seven million, still dream of overcoming the odds because of the benefits government jobs have long offered in China.

“In the past we talked about 'grabbing the golden iron bowl,' and the golden content of the so-called iron bowl is still very substantial,” Liu says.

China's bureaucracy, one of the world's largest, is perceived as a more stable career path than the private sector, which Liu says has lost the dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit that it had during the first few decades of economic reforms, when many officials left their government posts to “jump into to the sea of commerce” and explore their options as entrepreneurs.

Now, students face fierce competition to get into the government sector.

The national exam is the first screening for candidates who, if successful at this first step, will then face further tests and training before landing an official position.

Aspiring government employees are required to specify their most sought after position, and list two backup choices on their application.

Some jobs are less popular, such as those within the China Earthquake Administration, which only received 24 applications, according to state-owned news agency Xinhua. But for posts in central government agencies in Beijing and customs and taxation offices in provincial or local governments, thousands of applicants vied on Sunday for a limited number of jobs.

Pathway to perks

Status is an important pulling drive for many test takers.

In a country where personal connections are often key for getting preferential treatment in hospitals, schools and courts of law, the relative power that comes with a government job is seen as a potential source of benefits and self-enrichment.

Wary of this perception, the Chinese government is encouraging the next generation of officials to practice what the Communist Party has been preaching since it took power, namely to serve the people wholeheartedly and avoid corruption.

Last month, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said that China will recruit more people with “grassroots work experience” in this year's exam. Twelve percent of the test-taking opportunities were set aside for college graduates who have worked as village officials.

One 29-year-old surnamed Li, (not his real name) was a village official for three years before he took the test for a Beijing government civil service post three years ago. He now works in the agricultural department of a government district just outside Beijing.

He says that at the time, the government had established a program to help students in their careers by placing them in local administrations while they were studying, and encouraging them to continue a bureaucratic career after graduation.

“After three years of working experience at the local level, I had been assimilated by the system and I thought that working in the government was not a bad choice after all,” he says.

Li, whose salary amounts to around 700 US dollars a month, says that he earns much less than many of his fellow university graduates who pursued a career in the private sector.

Yet his bureaucrat's position comes with some perks.

“The income is low but the benefits are high,” he says, “Some good work units give purchasing cards, sort of like credit cards to their employees to use in supermarkets to buy groceries. Overtime is also well paid.”

Abusing power

More than anything else, Li thinks that it is the prospect of being in a position of power, and the possibility of abusing it, that lures so many graduates toward becoming government officials.

“It is enough that you manage a position with some power, and you can get many channels to get grey income,” he says.

Li believes that some people are fit for these types of jobs, but he does not count himself as one.

He is now sending resumes to private companies and hopes to find a job that better fits his character.

His family might not totally agree with his decision to let go of the "golden iron bowl," but in the end he says life is not all about material benefits.

“It's also important to do something that you consider worthwhile, and find your place in the world where you can realize your potential,” he said.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid