- In the 2023 application round, 7.7 million people have taken the civil service exam this year for more than 200,000 government jobs at the national and provincial level, according to a CNBC analysis of state media reports.
- Government jobs are usually considered stable and prestigious in China, particularly in an economy where youth unemployment has soared to record levels.
- For those who want a government job, they must pass the China Civil Service Examination – the multiple-choice section begins with questions about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speeches and “thought”.
College students looking for jobs at an exhibition in Hangzhou, China. According to CNBC’s analysis of state media reports, 7.7 million people have taken the civil service examination in the 2023 application round, and are competing for more than 200,000 government jobs at the national and provincial level.
Kylie Shen | Historic Corbis | Getty Images
A record number of people in China have taken the civil service exam this year, as youth unemployment soared.
According to CNBC’s analysis of state media reports, 7.7 million people have taken the civil service examination in the 2023 application round, and are competing for more than 200,000 government jobs at the national and provincial level.
Government jobs are usually stable and prestigious in China. GDP growth has slowed from the rapid pace of past decades.
The interest in government jobs comes as Xi Jinping last week cemented his position as China’s leader for an unprecedented third term.
Xi sees unity under the ruling Communist Party of China as essential to building the country. This means that the party has and will increase its presence in the economy, including among non-state enterprises.
Studying Think Shi is a growing requirement for schools in China.
For the millions of people who want a government job, they must pass China’s civil service exam — which begins with questions about Xi’s report to the party congress and Xi’s thought in the multiple-choice section.
Here’s a sample question, from Gongkaotong, Which sells test preparation questions for the Civil Service Examination:
Xi Jinping Thought on Economics is an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Regarding Xi Jinping Thought on Economics, how many of the following statements are true?
Entering a new development stage is a historical trend of China’s economic development
Promoting high-quality development is a theme of China’s economic development
— Adhering to the new concept of development is the guiding principle of China’s economic development
Insisting on opening up to the outside world is the primary driving force for China’s economic development
The development of the manufacturing industry and the real economy is the main focus of China’s economic development
a. 2 items
B. 3 items
C． 4 items
Dr.. 5 items
The written exam consists of two parts: a 120-minute multiple-choice section on “Administrative Professional Ability” and a 180-minute essay writing part called “Xin Lun,” translated to mean “Creating and Defending an Argument.”
The administrative test includes questions about Report of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and other rules and regulations. The test also tests language skills, data analysis, quantitative methods, “judgment and reasoning,” and “reasonable judgment.”
The state expanded employment at the national and regional levels by about 15% to 20%, a decision “aimed at relieving unemployment pressure, especially for university graduates,” An official media report statedQuoting Zhou Lijia, professor at the National Academy of Party Governance.
According to state media, about two-thirds of civil servant positions nationwide during this round of exams were only available to fresh graduates, or those who graduated within the past two years and are unable to find work.
China’s Ministry of Public Security is the largest employer at the ministry level, according to a plan it published National Civil Service Administration.
Below is a list of some of the open positions:
1. China’s Ministry of Public Security: 39 positions
2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has 38 positions
3. General Office of the Communist Party of China: 26 junior positions. The department provides security, medical care and secretarial work for the top leadership of the party and government.
4. Department of Cyberspace in China: 20 positions, 12 of which will work in the emergency command center for cyber security. The regulator oversees the content and has the authority to remove apps from the app stores.
The China National Civil Service Administration could not be reached for comment despite multiple attempts by CNBC.
The civil service examination in China has its roots in the Chinese imperial examination system dating back to the sixth century.
Under this system, scholars would undergo several levels of examinations to obtain government positions – it was considered a process that gave everyone a fair chance to move up the social hierarchy.
The current examination system in the country was adopted in 1993 and in 2005, it became compulsory for all junior government officials.
However, Xi and other senior leaders did not need to pass a civil service examination to obtain their current positions.
By law, “non-leadership civil servants below the senior level and other similar positions” are required to take the test, not senior commanders.
The president, vice president, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and other top government positions in China are selected through a process in which national delegates debate and select one candidate for each role.
Xi secured an unprecedented third term on Friday through the process.
At the provincial or lower level, heads of government may face at most one competing candidate per role.
Government officials in China earn very modest salaries.
But usually they were guaranteed a job for life with a high social status. Preferential treatment includes bonus payments at festivals, better medical insurance and higher pension benefits without the need to make personal contributions.
Exact wage numbers remain a sensitive topic.
We will expand employment channels to help young people realize their personal worth through hard work.
Chinese Prime Minister
The latest figures reported by state media showed that civil servants earned an average of 48,608 yuan ($6,979) per year in 2012. Reports also showed that Xi received 136,620 yuan per year in 2015.
For rough comparison, the The per capita income of urban residents was 20,590 yuan In 2024, according to official figures. Salaries vary widely in China by region and type of job.
Despite long-term expectations of a shrinking population and workforce, the number of college graduates has been rising to record levels in the past few years in China.
“From the employment perspective, there is a certain pressure,” Premier Li Qiang said Monday at his first press conference in the post, according to CNBC’s Chinese translation.
“We will expand employment channels to help young people realize their personal worth through hard work.”