|Candidates look at a map of the exam sites in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, Nov. 24, 2013. China's annual national civil servant recruitment exam kicked off nationwide on Sunday. National-level government agencies, their affiliated public institutions and local branches will recruit 19,000 civil servants in 2014. (Photo Source: Xinhua)|
If he could go back in time, Qiu Wen (pseudonym) would never have become a civil servant.
As a publicity official at a county administered by the Beijing municipal government, he has lived a routine life the past two years. Usually, he gets up at around 7 am. After a quick breakfast, he arrives at the office at around 8 am. Then, he turns on the computer and begins surfing the Internet.
For the next few hours, he kills time by reading through news web portals until 3 pm, when he leaves the office and heads home.
The next day is much the same. To prove to himself that "he is still alive," he has formed a habit of cleaning his office table every morning, he told China Weekly magazine.
Qiu's main task is to update and enter data on villages and enterprises, then submit them to higher-level government officials, which takes him just one day to complete.
"The future is foreseeable. If I stay in the post, it would take half of my life to get a middle-ranking title. Tell me, is it worth it?" Qiu asked.
Qiu is not alone. There have been increasing numbers of people taking the civil servant exam with the aim of getting a government post. This year saw record numbers of around 1.12 million examinees taking the annual exam, but only 19,000 will be hired by the central government, according to the State Administration of Civil Service.
However, a growing number of young civil servants have described themselves as being caught in "a besieged fortress."
The low pay, tedious errands, strict hierarchy and complicated relationships within the system have left many young civil servants disillusioned.
Analysts have called on authorities to break up the system by distributing social resources evenly into other social sectors, especially into the private sector, so that more youngsters can be assimilated into other parts of the society and make a bigger contribution.