BEIJING, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's national-level government agencies, their affiliated public institutions and local branches will recruit over 19,000 civil servants in 2014, a slight decrease from 2013.
The 2014 public service exam for national-level governments will open to applications on Wednesday, the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) announced on Monday.
In 2013's exam, 20,839 positions were open to application.
According to authorities, the 2014 public service selection will continue favoring candidates who have worked in grassroots communities.
Most positions in government agencies above provincial level will require two years of grassroots working experience. About 10 percent of all vacancies will be set aside for college graduates-turned-village-heads.
A civil servant role remains the most sought-after jobs in China, despite the country's efforts to cool public service "fever," such as encouraging young people to start their own businesses or to work in grass-root communities.
Statistics show that qualified applicants in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 annual national-level public service exams totaled 1.3 million, 1.23 million and 1.38 million respectively. They stood a slim chance of securing a job in the public service.
Officials and scholars attributed popularity of the public service exam to people favoring a stable job, worship of officialdom and benefits civil servants enjoy.
Yin Weimin, MOHRSS minister, said employment pressure contributed to the exam's popularity, besides the public service exam provides an open and fair channel for job hunters.
Also, civil servants usually enjoy a stable job, social respect and handsome welfare, Yin said.
Ma Qingyu, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said as many jobs become more competitive and less stable, a civil service job stands out for its stability and welfare benefits.
Chi Fulin, executive president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, believed Chinese people's traditional worship for officialdom also plays a role behind the high popularity of civil service jobs.
The growth of the market economy has created considerable job opportunities, broadening the space for personal development, Chi said. However, if people still covet power and the benefits it brings along, it signals regression of society.
Ma said even today, many people regard climbing up the official ladder as the one sure path to success.
Zhang Yuan, a civil servant who was recruited by the Ministry of Finance two years ago, said, "To my farmer parents, being a civil servant is a glorious job. The day when I received recruitment notice, my father who never drinks gave me a toast."
Additionally, scholars argued that extra benefits attached to a civil service job also makes it appealing, such as government-covered health care, subsidized housing, high pension rates, among other benefits.
Chu Jianguo, public management professor with Wuhan University, said only when the current health care and pension reforms for civil servants prevail and they enjoy the same welfare benefits as other social groups, will people's career choices diversify.
Chi Fulin suggested stricter evaluation and exit mechanisms be established for civil servants so as to destroy the "iron rice bowl", byword for stable jobs.