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China’s 2024 Public Servant Exam: A Strategic Move to Boost Employment & Public Service Quality

ChinaChina's 2024 Public Servant Exam: A Strategic Move to Boost Employment & Public Service Quality

China’s endeavor to offer more opportunities for its rising number of fresh college graduates is evident as the 2024 national public servant exam application window opened on Sunday. This move is a testament to the nation’s commitment to address unemployment concerns while ensuring quality public service.

  1. Vacancies and Application Period: The 2024 national public servant exam, which commenced applications this Sunday, showcases a new high of 39,600 vacancies at central agencies and their direct affiliates.
  2. Test Schedule: The main written exams will take place on November 26, covering several major cities, including provincial and autonomous region capitals.
  3. Focus on Fresh Graduates: The National Civil Service Administration’s announcement has made it clear that recent college graduates are a priority. This strategic decision is rooted in the directives of the Communist Party China Central Committee and the State Council, emphasizing graduate employment. To this end, 26,000 positions are reserved for them.
  4. Grassroots Emphasis and Adjustments: With a view to fortify grassroots civil servant teams, nearly 27,000 posts are up for grabs at the county or district level and below. Recognizing the unique challenges of remote regions, specific conditions regarding educational qualifications and work experience have been aptly revised.
  5. Military Graduates and Defense Careers: Over 3,000 jobs are earmarked for college graduates with over five years of military experience. This move aims to channel talent towards national defense and front-line projects.

Trend Analysis

Over the last trio of years, there’s been a clear uptrend in the recruitment of national public servants:

  • 2021: 25,700 vacancies with 1.01 million exam-takers. Participation stood at 81.3%, resulting in a ratio of 40 examinees per available spot.
  • 2022: 31,200 vacancies saw 1.42 million candidates, with a participation rate of 81.6% and a ratio of 46 candidates per position.
  • 2023: It climbed further to 37,100 job openings. Out of 1.94 million registered candidates, 1.52 million took the test, marking a participation rate of 78.3%. The competition ratio was roughly 41:1.


The underlying drive for this recruitment surge can be attributed to two critical factors:

  1. Graduate Population Boom: Recent years have witnessed a surge in the number of fresh college graduates in China, surpassing 10 million in 2022 and touching 11.58 million in 2023. Forecasts indicate an even higher number, approximately 11.87 million, in 2024.
  2. Youth Unemployment: In 2023, youth unemployment (ages 16-24) spiked from 19.6% in March to 21.3% by June, as per the National Bureau of Statistics. It’s crucial to note that from July 2023 onwards, unemployment data releases by age were halted.

Insider Perspectives

When asked about this growth, Xiong Bingqi, the esteemed director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, offered a dual perspective to Global Times. On one hand, the expansion caters to the rising need for public servants in light of evolving governmental duties. On the other, it addresses the alarming low employment rates among new college graduates. He emphasized that the focus on recent graduates aims to remedy this situation.

Additionally, the narrative of Xiao Lei, a postgraduate student specializing in Korean translation in Beijing, offers a firsthand experience. Having started her preparation for the national exam in August, Xiao is meticulously analyzing the exam-to-recruitment ratios to make an informed decision. In her academic circle, all her peers intend to appear for the exam, with half being entirely dedicated to it. The persistence is noteworthy, as many would continue to attempt local civil servant exams despite potential setbacks.

Xiong elucidates the underlying fervor for these exams. He highlights the stability associated with civil servant positions, making them highly coveted. In contrast, corporate recruitment doesn’t offer such transparency or a unified platform, leading to intense competition in both domains.

In wrapping up, the escalation in national public servant recruitment isn’t just a numeric growth. It’s a strategic move to combat rising unemployment, especially among fresh graduates, while ensuring an efficient public service sector. The competition, as intense as it may seem, is a reflection of the stability and prestige associated with civil servant roles. By expanding these opportunities, China is poised to not only alleviate employment challenges for its youth but also refine its civil service teams, ensuring enhanced societal services.

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