THEY call it the “iron rice bowl”.
Demand for cushy government positions with lifelong job security have led to a record number of applicants in Chinas civil service entrance exams, Chinese media reports.
Nearly 1.5 million people applied for just 15,589 positions this year, with a humble receptionist position for a minor political party attracting the most interest with 9837 people vying for the role.
The role at the Beijing offices of the China Democratic League involves receiving guests and serving tea but requires a bachelors degree and two years of grassroots experience, according to the BBC.
Interest in government jobs has bounced back since last year, when the number of applicants dipped to 1.4 million amid the governments corruption crackdown. This year saw the highest number of applicants since the exam was established in 1994.
The BBC reports the most popular position last year was the post of national statistics departments Chongqing and Nanchuan investigation team member, attracting more than 9400 applicants.
According to Chinese media, more than one million officials have been caught in the corruption crackdown since 2012, leading government departments to toughen requirements for many jobs. A bachelors degree is now required for most positions, and some require Communist Party membership.
The interest in the China Democratic League position was reportedly due to the desirable Beijing location and the looser entry requirements.
Some jobs have attracted many people because they have broader requirements for education and professional and work experience, civil service spokesman Li Zhong told Peoples Daily.
Applicant Feng Zhongxia wrote on microblogging service Sina Weibo: This job requires a bachelors degree, but it is not limited to those who have specialised in a particular field. You dont need a party membership either.
While interest in the receptionist role was strong, 400 positions failed to attract any applicants at all. Mr Li acknowledged those roles, mainly in remote areas such as a posting for railway guards in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, were unpopular due to their more arduous locations.
With an official unemployment rate of 4.04 per cent, there are potentially more than 56 million job seekers in a country of 1.4 billion.
India has a similar problem. Last year, Indian officials were overwhelmed when 2.3 million people applied for 368 low-level government jobs in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
By comparison, more than 18,000 people applied for just 14 places at NASA earlier this year, breaking the record set in 1978 of 8000 applications at the US space agency.
The BBC reports some users on Sina Weibo reacted with cynicism to the latest rush for government jobs. Whats the point? If you cant get in, your relatives will look down on you. If you do get in, then your relatives will hassle you on a daily basis to pull strings for them, wrote one user.
It comes after an eight-part reality series featuring confessions by 77 allegedly corrupt public officials aired on state broadcaster CCTV. Following the series finale of Always on the Road, state newspaper Peoples Daily asked users to vote for a winner.
Whose confessions do you think passed the grade? the paper asked on social media platform WeChat, linking to a 12-minute edited collection of confessions along with transcripts.
According to Quartz, the winner so far is 60-year-old Li Chuncheng, former deputy party chief of Sichuan province, with 3000 votes, or 26 per cent of the total. Li is currently serving a 13-year jail sentence for bribery.
Follow three larger-than-life entrepreneurs grappling to break into China. Tony Caldera has borrowed millions to build a cushion factory and Peter Williams is trying to sell an energy saving device to the Chinese.
pstrongCUSTOMERS aren’t the only ones upset about Australia Post’s new parcel pick-up tax, with post office staff fearing they will cop backlash from punters./strong/ppAustralia Post announced this week it would start charging up to $9 a pop to retrieve undelivered parcels from post offices./ppThe charges are not set to come in until August, but some customers have said they had already received emails and text messages stating they will be charged if their parcel is not collected after five days./ppIt has prompted calls for an investigation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)./ppNews.com.au has also been contacted by a number of Australia Post licensees independent small business people who run smaller post offices who have said the ridiculous price hikes would lead to them being abused by customers./ppOne manager said shed even considered shouldering the new charges herself to help customers./pp The plan, which is branded Hold at Post, is proving about as popular as Ted Cruz at an Indiana election rally./ppCurrently, undelivered parcels are held for 10 days at no cost. But from August, parcels not picked up within five days will attract a $3 holding fee rising to $9 if they are still uncollected after three weeks./ppAustralia Post said 92 per cent of parcels were collected within five days and would continue to be fee-free under the new proposals. It also confirmed it could drop the plan altogether if customer outrage continued from now until August./ppbCOPPED COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF ABUSE/b/ppAn independent Post Office licensee from Queensland, who wished to remain anonymous as they were fearful of crossing Aus Post bosses, told news.com.au it was just the most recent in a long line of fees angering customers./ppThere isnt a day that goes by that I do not have at least five people complain about the cost of postage and stamps, the manager said./ppAsked whether she expected this to continue with Hold at Post, she said. Absolutely, we have copped copious amounts of abuse about stamps. We will continue to be talked about, looked down on, abused over the counter where we are only just keeping afloat as it is./ppI am going to do anything to help our customers but its getting harder and harder to do that with the costs going up so quickly./ppShe said it was difficult to maintain a business with these ridiculous price hikes and she had considered simply not charging customers the $9 fee./ppHowever, she wont have a choice because head office would keep an electronic record of the parcels./ppThere wouldnt be so many parcels to pick up, she said, if drivers made more of an effort to deliver them rather than bringing the packages back to the post office./pp Late last year, Australia Post copped a storm of criticism after CCTV footage was published showing a courier making no attempt to deliver a residents parcel./ppbUNIMPRESSED/b/ppAnother licensee joined the debate by commenting on a news.com.au article, claiming bosses were out of touch./ppWe are just as unimpressed as customers are, he said. I am not too happy for the decision that has been made from the board room of Australia Post./ppThe fee-free period was too short and the charges too steep, the manager said, who also didnt want to be identified./ppBob Chizzoniti, the director of the Post Office Agents Association, the peak body for small business owners in the postal sector, said Australia Post needed to focus on delivering parcels in the first place./ppThe association had also warned Australia Post that Hold at Post could cause customer angst./ppLicensees and staff serving would be in the front line for customer complaints, Mr Chizzoniti said./ppbBLUNDER/b/ppIt has also emerged Australia Post is sending emails and text messages to customers, with parcels to pick up, stating they will now be charged for picking them up if they are uncollected after five days despite the new fees not coming into effect until August./ppAs far as I could tell the charges were already in place both the SMS and email factually state that fees are in place with no indication at all the charge will not actually apply, a customer who received a communication on Tuesday told news.com.au./ppIts a blunder to not make it clearer to customers that this is a future plan./ppAn Australia Post spokeswoman told news.com.au, we recognise we could have made it clearer the proposed changes would only apply from 1 August. From today, our text and email parcel notifications will be changed to reflect this./ppThe vast majority of parcels were delivered on the first attempt, she said./ppTo prevent customers getting a collection card when they are home, we recently introduced a new knock and call process, which requires our delivery drivers to knock loudly and call out three times before leaving a card./ppHowever, the organisation may have bigger problems with calls for an investigation by the ACCC./ppChief executive of parcel delivery service Sendle, James Chin Moody, said he believed the plan by Australia Post could be seen as unconscionable conduct./ppBy charging a customer before they will release a parcel, Australia Post is using undue influence and unfair tactics to force them to pay./ppThey are forcing someone to enter a commercial relationship with them said Mr Chin Moody./ppAn ACCC spokesman said it did not regulate the delivery of parcels, however whether the proposal breached the Competition Act could be examined. It would not comment on whether it had received any complaints regarding Hold at Post./ppPost Office owners, who have to store peoples parcels, will receive the majority of the proposed fee, an Australia Post spokeswoman told news.com.au. She denied the organisation was unable to levy fees on the parcels recipient. Our terms and conditions cover our relationship with both the sender and receiver of mail./ppbbenedict.this site/b/p