Applications for civil service exam drop as companies beckon


More than 1.39 million applicants signed up for China's national civil service exam this year, a slight drop of 1 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

An average of 50 applicants were vying for each position, lower than last year's 63.

At the same time, there are still 131 positions that require special academic backgrounds, such as meteorological observation and geology, with no applications at all.

An applicant who only wanted to be identified by the surname Xie said she has taken the exam twice. Last year, she failed the final round of the interview.

"My current job is stable and well-paid, but working for the government has long been my dream," said Xie, 28. "After years of education at one of the most prestigious universities in China, I want to do something meaningful."

The national civil service exam for selecting officials for the Chinese government started in 1994, with 4,400 people competing for 490 vacancies. The number of applicants has soared, peaking in 2013 with 1.52 million applicants. The number dropped to 1.4 million in 2014 and 1.39 million this year.

At the same time, a record 27,817 civil service jobs were advertised this year.

Li Zhong, spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, disagreed with the suggestion that the increase in job vacancies was caused by more civil servants leaving.

"China is facing increasing pressure as an aging society. Many central government agencies are having to deal with these issues," said Li. "Besides, as reform continues, many local government agencies are taking over new tasks. This means they have to enlarge their talent pool."