Civil service jobs have gradually become popular again with growing numbers of graduates nominating them as their "ideal jobs".
Amid the current global financial crisis' implications for the private sector, the website for national civil service exams crashed on its first live day on Monday, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
A recent China Youth Daily survey on Netease.com shows around 86 percent of the 2,440 respondents considered taking the exam in a bid to join the public sector.
"The reason is simple," a Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security official, who refused to be named, said. "In China, civil servant jobs means good payment, decent social status and permanent social welfare. There is low risk of being fired."
China will recruit 13,566 civil servants this year, according to the newly released civil service enrollment brochure.
Among the 134 government agencies taking part in the recruitment campaign, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alone plans to recruit 157 new staff.
For Dong Shu, a graduate of Peking University, a civil service job is at the top of her wish list.
"As a girl, I just want stability. The civil service sector can provide a comfortable and wealthy life. What's more, most of my classmates are going to take the exam," Dong said.
Things are more complicated for Wu Minggang, who will graduate from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in March next year.
"Being a civil servant means a bright future. If you work for a foreign enterprise, you will still be an engineer in 20 years, but if I get a job as a civil servant, (the career development path will be different,)" Wu said.
For Wu's classmate Wang Zhongxu, sitting the exam is just about increasing her chances of getting a job.
"I just want to grab any chance in front of me," Wang said.
Li Pei, a post-graduate of the University of International Relations who became a civil servant last year, feels satisfied with her job.
"We enjoy a dormitory at a low price, about 200 yuan (US$29) per month. We enjoy three meals for free in the dinning hall. Every month I can give at least 1,000 yuan to my parents," Li said.
Compared with Li's classmates in foreign enterprises, Li's life was rather comfortable.
With a monthly salary of about 5,000 yuan, she also enjoys good insurance and pension coverage.
Hu Fengling, a professor at the University of International Relations, said at least 70 percent of the graduates in his school will take the national civil service exam, but only one in five will get a job.
(China Daily October 15, 2008)