More than 1.5m applicants will sit China’s civil service exam next month, raising concerns about a jobs market that has come under immense pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.
The State Administration of Civil Service said that 1.6m people, the second-highest in history, passed background checks for the national public servants exam scheduled for November, up from 1.4m in 2019. Only 1.6% of applicants will eventually secure a position.
The growing popularity of government jobs highlights the challenges faced by China’s labour market as employers cut back on hiring, driving the jobless rate to above pre-virus levels despite a recovering economy.
“At a time of massive job losses,” said Bo Zhuang, an analyst at TS Lombard, a consultancy, “government agencies are the best places to work given the iron rice bowl it provides”.