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Chinese Local Government Is Losing Top Talents?

The salary of Chinese government officials are one of the few that remain the same level as five years ago. Yet, situations have changed fundamentally. Anti-corruption brings down the hidden welfare or 'grey income' of our public servants. Companies in the market are offering more than twice they have offered, not to mention those fast-growing industries have to offer.

Historically, only those with the best family background and education get to work in the government, when government used to allocated positions for fresh graduates. These talents indeed contributed a lot to Chinese economic miracle. They are famous for their hardworking and entrepreneurship. No government officials in other countries spare so much efforts on serving firms and developing economy. Nowadays, market economy breed a profitable private sector, which turns out to be financially more awarding for young people.

The immediate impact is that, top talents feel less inducive to work in a government agency. Although news often report the crazy competition for a 'hot' official position. Yet, statistics tells that top students in university seldom consider government position as ideal career. Not to mention young public servants who came in the system for those 'hidden welfare' now start to feel the living pressure, and thus leave their postions.

It is no necessarily a bad phenomenoun. First of all, the most important source of economic growth is private sector, after all. Government should function more like a provider of public service, instead of a business entrepreneur. Secondly, the phenomenoun suggests a more transparent and incorruptible government. Thirdly, graduates with best academic performance may not be the best candidates for government officials. The characteristics, skill set and living expectation are very selective for a good candidate.

From the lesson of Singapore, our government should set the salary to a comparable level as other industries, such as legal, finance and technology. This will disturb the outflow of top talents, as well as discourage officials from corruption.