The application period for China's national public servant exam in 2024 started on Sunday. With the recruitment quota expanding for multiple years in a row, next year is set to reach a new high of 39,600 vacancies available at central agencies and their directly affiliated institutions.
Candidates can apply for the exam between Sunday and October 24. The written tests for the general subjects are scheduled to be held simultaneously in municipalities, provincial capitals, autonomous region capitals and some larger cities across the nation on November 26.
According to the recruitment announcement released by the National Civil Service Administration, preference for recruiting fresh college graduates will continue.
According to the requirements and deployment of the Communist Party China Central Committee and the State Council regarding the employment of college graduates, 26,000 positions will be designated for fresh college graduates to promote their employment.
The administration will further strengthen the construction of grassroots civil servant teams with nearly 27,000 posts available at directly affiliated institutions at the county or district level and below. Application conditions for positions in remote and hardship areas have been adjusted appropriately in terms of educational background, major and work experience based on actual conditions.
Meanwhile, more than 3,000 positions have been designated for college graduates who have served in the military for over five years or longer and personnel recruitment for grassroots project, in a bid to encourage and direct talent flow to the frontlines and actively promote national defense careers.
Over the past three years, the recruitment numbers for national public servants have been continuously increasing from 25,700 in 2021 to 37,100 in 2023, according to thepaper.cn.
This expansion in public servant recruitment is the result of increasing demand for public servants as well as adjustments in government responsibilities, which needs more civil servants, Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Meanwhile, it also aims to alleviate the current problem of comparatively low employment among fresh college graduates, Xiong said, explaining why the recruitment policy stresses preferential treatment for fresh college graduates.
The number of fresh college graduates in China has been continuously increasing over the past few years, breaking the 10 million mark for the first time in 2022 and reaching 11.58 million in 2023. It is expected fresh college graduates will reach a record high of 11.87 million in 2024, according to media reports.
In 2023, the Chinese youth unemployment rate rose from 19.6 percent in March to 21.3 percent in June for the 16-24 age demographic, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The NBS has suspended the release of unemployment data by age since July.
Compared with applying for positions at companies, the civil servant exam is probably easier for fresh graduates, Xiao Lei, a postgraduate student who majors in Korean translation at a university in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Xiao has been preparing for the national civil servant exam since August and she will decide which position to apply for based on the ratio of exam participants to recruitment positions for 2024.
According to Xiao, all her classmates will apply for the exam and at least half will focus on the civil servant exam wholeheartedly. Even if they fail the national civil servant exam, they will continue to try civil servant exams at local levels, even though their chances may be slim.
In 2023, China planned to recruit 37,100 personnel through the national civil servant exam. A total of 1.94 million candidates confirmed their registration, and 1.52 million actually participated in the exam, resulting in a participation rate of about 78.3 percent. The ratio of exam participants to available recruitment positions was approximately 41:1.
In 2022, the national civil servant recruitment had 31,200 vacancies. A total of 1.42 million people took the national civil servant exam, resulting in a participation rate of about 81.6 percent. The ratio of the number of exam participants to available positions was approximately 46:1.
In 2021, a total of 1.01 million people took the national civil servant exam, through which China planned to recruit 25,700 people, with a participation rate of about 81.3 percent. The examinee-position ratio was approximately 40:1.
The fierce competition in the national civil servant exam results from the fact that civil servant positions tend to be more stable, Xiong said, noting that fierce competition also exists in company recruitment which lacks a unified platform to count numbers.
Thus, expanding the recruitment of civil servants can create more job opportunities for fresh college graduates and jointly alleviate employment difficulties. Civil service teams can also be optimized through this expansion and provide more services at a higher quality to society, the expert said.