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1.5 mln candidates for the 'iron rice bowls'

CCTV.com

11-28-2016 06:07 BJT

It's the fourth Sunday in November. And in China, this means it's time for the annual civil service exam. And this year, over one and half million people are taking it.

Candidates walk into Nanjing Forestry University to take the national civil servant exam in Nanjing, capital of east China

Candidates walk into Nanjing Forestry University to take the national civil servant exam in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, Nov. 27, 2016. About 1.48 million applicants are qualified to take China's civil servant exam this year. (Xinhua/Sun Can)

If you think your SAT exam was hard, well, think again. Introducing the Guokao, or the Chinese national civil service exam.

Each year, there will be over a million people racking their brains to ace the test. Their purpose - to serve the country and its people -- for a steady income.

To make contributions for the country.

A stable job, that's why I want to take the exam.

This year, nearly 1.5 million candidates will be competing for 27,000 vacancies. On average, their odds are 1 in 55.

To secure one particular job at the China Democratic League, you will have to be the last one standing among ten thousand.

"We must set the standards more scientifically. The competitive ratio must be kept at a reasonable level, and at the same time, up to the basic job requirements," Peng Zhongbao with State Bureau of Civil Servants said.

While some positions are more popular, others go begging. About 200 vacancies have no qualified candidates. And most of these jobs are in the remote far western regions. This has scared off those looking for a stable job.

"A systematic reform will be needed to better recruit and keep the talents. For instance, we should give out stipends and higher salaries for those who work in a tough environment," Liang Yuping with Chiense Academy of Personnel Science said.

The "iron rice bowls" have never been easy to get. But China's future civil servants will stand out in this year's exam and the ones to come - just like their predecessors have been doing since the 7th Century.

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