Civil service exam acceptance dwindles at 0.54%

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of Examination estimates that the acceptance rate for the 2013 Civil Service Elementary Examination, which kicked off yesterday, will slump to a low 0.54 percent.

A total of 66,724 people registered to take the nation’s first civil service exam in 2013, down around 3,000 from last year. Only 357 will be chosen to assume civil service posts, translating into an extremely low acceptance rate of 0.54 percent and indicating the intense competition among exam-takers. Ministry officials said that any citizen of the Republic of China aged 18 and older is allowed to take the civil service examination, with no educational qualifications required.

As many as 5,214 exam-takers this year hold a master’s degree, and another 35 hold a doctoral degree. The large number of highly educated people choosing to apply for low-ranking civil service positions may be sign of the increasing difficulty in seeking jobs on the island.

The two-day exam was held in eight areas around the island, namely Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaoshiung, Hualien and Taitung.

Of the total exam-takers, as many as 34,802 registered to vie for 204 general administration vacancies, translating into a low acceptance rate of 0.59 percent.

In contrast, 641 people registered to strive for five vacated posts dedicated to statistical affairs, for a higher acceptance rate of close to 1 percent.

Ministry officials said that those who pass the civil service exam will undertake basic training and then be assigned to document delivery and reception jobs or to serve as cashiers, with a starting monthly salary of NT$29,000, slightly higher than the corresponding figure for fresh employees at private enterprises.

Lin Kuang-chi, secretary general of the Ministry of Examination, said that the ministry has requested a research institute to draft revisions to the Civil Service Elementary Examination system to properly adjust the exam courses to facilitate the entry of people with lower educational background into the civil service system.

Although fringe benefits for civil servants have been slashed by lawmakers, most of the exam-takers said they still prefer to enter the civil service system as the risk of being laid off is far smaller than for employees in the private sector.