Over 2 million apply to sit civil service exam, with applicants preferring jobs in big cities
The government is loosening the requirements for people applying for civil service positions in remote and underdeveloped areas to attract more applicants, according to a human resources official.
The amendment means that some of these posts set fewer limits related to the applicants' working experience and educational backgrounds, including their education level and major, said Li Zhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
For some positions in big cities or those open to people from a wider range of backgrounds - for example one at the Central Committee of the China Democratic League's reception office - almost 10,000 people competed for one vacancy, while there were still hundreds of positions in remote or poor areas receiving very few or even no applications.
According to the ministry, 2.11 million people registered for the public servants' exams this year. As of Tuesday, the day after applications closed, 1.36 million had been approved to sit the exam. Li said this figure would keep growing before the approval procedure ends.
Yang Xiaojun, a professor of administrative law at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said people's main concerns in picking government jobs are location, benefits and working conditions.
"People prefer jobs in big cities, with a decent salary, safe working conditions and prestige. This is why jobs in customs and central government agencies are more popular than those in rural and remote areas," he said.
To reverse the imbalance, Li said that the process this year encourages young people to take jobs at the grassroots level, particularly in remote and poor areas.
Dai Youqing, a master's graduate from Peking University's School of Journalism and Communication, applied for a post at the press office of the Service Industry Research Center under the State's Administration of Taxation.
Dai estimated that 70 percent of the students from her class applied for the exam and she already had more than 200 competitors for the job she applied for.
"My chance of getting in is slim, but at least it's an option," Dai said.