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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Shanghai move to counter civil service exodus

Shanghai move to counter civil service exodus

A top government official revealed yesterday civil service exams may be held in Shanghai to recruit local graduates as the number of civil servants quitting the service tripled over the past five years.
Secretary for the Civil Service Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan made the disclosure at a special Finance Committee meeting on Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po's budget, during which lawmakers accused the government of failing to keep civil servants and replenish the lost manpower.

According to official figures, 3,734 civil servants - including 800 aged 25 to 29 - resigned in 2021 to reach the highest since 1997, about three times the 1,300 in 2017.

During the fiscal year 2021/22, 10,487 civil servants or 5.9 percent of the workforce left - including 6,310 retiring.

Election Committee lawmaker and ex-security secretary Lai Tung-kwok asked: "What do you have in mind to facilitate replenishment of civil servants? How much more resignations is needed to sound your alarm?"

Yeung said "It's undeniable that our working population has shrunk. When all industries are competing for workers, this situation is seen everywhere.

"We think this is 'normal within abnormality' because it's abnormal across the city," she said. Recruitment procedures were streamlined and year-long hiring conducted for positions that have been short of manpower for a long time.

She said that in addition to Beijing, her bureau is considering setting up a second exam center in Shanghai for holding both the Common Recruitment Examination and National Security Law Test that are mandatory for candidates applying for civil servant vacancies.

Last year, overseas exams were held in December in seven cities, namely London, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York and Beijing.

This year, exams are planned overseas for October 7 in Hong Kong and December 9, with locations to be announced later. Engineering constituency lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok expressed concern over manpower losses in architectural and engineering departments, pointing to drainage services, housing and highways departments losing over 5 percent of their staff in 2021/22.

"I'm afraid this will delay construction of infrastructure," he said.

Yeung said public works-related civil service positions are "highly popular" and these departments found little difficulty in hiring.

She added "a certain proportion" of those resigning did not pass the three-year probation.

Yeung said they were working to improve training and the working environment.
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