Record 7.7 million applicants for 200,000 government jobs

  • In the 2023 application round, a record 7.7 million people took the civil service exam this year for more than 200,000 government jobs at the national and provincial levels, according to CNBC’s analysis of the reports. state media.
  • Government jobs are generally seen as stable and prestigious in China, especially in an economy where youth unemployment has reached record highs.
  • For those who want a government job, they must take the Chinese civil service exam – the multiple-choice section of which begins with questions about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speeches and “thought”.

University students looking for jobs at a fair in Hangzhou, China. According to CNBC’s analysis of state media reports, 7.7 million people took the civil service exam in the 2023 candidacy round, vying for more than 200,000 government jobs nationally and provincial.

Qilai Shen | Corbis History | Getty Images

A record number of people in China have taken the civil service exam this year amid soaring youth unemployment.

According to CNBC’s analysis of state media reports, 7.7 million people took the civil service exam in the 2023 candidacy round, vying for more than 200,000 government jobs nationally and provincial.

Government jobs are generally considered stable and prestigious in China. GDP growth has slowed from the rapid pace of recent decades.

Interest in government jobs comes as Xi Jinping cemented his position as China’s leader for an unprecedented third term last week.

Xi sees unity under the ruling Chinese Communist Party as key to building the country. This means that the party has and is about to increase its presence in the economy, including among non-state-owned businesses.

Studying “Xi Thought” is a growing requirement for schools in China.

For millions of people who want government jobs, they must take the Chinese civil service exam – which begins with questions about Xi’s report to the party congress and which Xi thought of in a multiple-choice section.

Here is a sample question, from Gongkaotong, which sells test prep questions for the civil service exam:

Xi Jinping Thought on Economics is an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era. Regarding Xi Jinping’s thought on the economy, how many of the following statements are correct?

① Entering a new stage of development is a historic direction of China’s economic development
② Promoting high-quality development is a distinct theme of China’s economic development
③Adhering to the new concept of development is the guiding principle of China’s economic development
④ Insisting on outward opening is the primary driver of China’s economic development
⑤ The vigorous development of the manufacturing industry and the real economy is the main goal of China’s economic development

A. 2 items
B. 3 items
VS. 4 items
d.5 items

The written exam consists of two parts: a 120-minute multiple-choice section on “administrative professional capacity” and a 180-minute essay writing part called “shen lun”, which means “to build and defend a argument “.

The administrative test includes questions about the report of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China and other rules and regulations. The exam also tests language skills, data analysis, quantitative methods, “judgment and reasoning” and “common sense judgment”.

The state has increased recruitment at the national and provincial levels by about 15% to 20%, a move “aimed at easing the pressure of unemployment, especially for college graduates”, according to a state media report, citing Zhu Lijia, professor at the National Party Academy. of Governance.

About two-thirds of civil servant positions at the national level during this round of testing were only open to new graduates, or those who graduated within the past two years and did not find a job. jobs, according to state media.

China’s Ministry of Public Security is the biggest recruiter at the ministerial level, according to a plan released by the National Civil Service Administration.

Here is a list of some open positions:

1. Chinese Ministry of Public Security: 39 posts
2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 38 posts
3. General Office of the Communist Party of China: 26 entry-level positions. The department provides security, medical care and secretarial work for the senior party and government leadership.
4. China Cyberspace Administration: 20 positions, 12 of which will work at the Internet Security Emergency Command Center. The Regulator oversees content and has the power to remove apps from app stores.

China’s National Civil Service Administration could not be reached for comment despite multiple attempts by CNBC.

The Chinese civil service examination has its roots in the Chinese imperial examination system dating back to the 6th century.

Under this system, scholars had to pass several levels of testing to gain positions in government – ​​it was seen as a process that gave everyone a fair chance to move up the social ladder.

The country’s current examination system was adopted in 1993, and in 2005 it became mandatory for all entry-level government officials.

However, Xi and other top leaders did not need to pass the civil service exam to get their current roles.

According to the law, only “non-executive officials below the level of senior executives and other equivalent positions” are required to take the test, not senior executives.

The president, vice president, chairman of the Central Military Commission and other high-level government positions in China are chosen through a process in which national delegates discuss and nominate a candidate for each role.

Xi won an unprecedented third term on Friday through the process.

At the provincial level or below, heads of government may face at most one competing candidate for each role.

Government officials in China earn a very modest salary.

But they are usually guaranteed a job for life with a high social status. Preferential treatment includes bonuses at festivals, better medical insurance and a higher retirement allowance without having to pay personal contributions.

The exact salary figures remain a sensitive subject.

We will expand employment channels to help young people realize their personal worth through hard work.

Li Qiang

chinese prime minister

The latest figures reported by state media showed civil servants earned an average of 48,608 yuan ($6,979) a year in 2012. Reports also showed that Xi received 136,620 yuan a year in 2015.

For a rough comparison, the per capita wage income of urban residents was 20,590 yuan in 2022, according to official figures. Salaries vary widely in China depending on region and job type.

Despite longer-term forecasts of a shrinking population and labor force, the number of university graduates has reached record highs in recent years in China.

“From an employment perspective, there is some pressure,” Premier Li Qiang said Monday during his first press conference in the post, according to a CNBC translation from Chinese.

“We will expand employment channels to help young people realize their self-worth through hard work.”

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