THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Attitudes Towards Civil Service of Pakistan: A Perception Survey
The Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) is generally regarded as a prestigious occupation offering numerous perks and benefits along with administrative power and high social status. Each year, thousands of applicants compete for a prized job in the civil service and only a fraction eventually makes it.1 Yet in recent years there has been a growing perception that the civil service might be losing its allure for at least three reasons. First, the salary structure of the civil service has not kept pace with the cost of living making it difficult for civil servants to maintain a decent living standard. Second, there has been a growing competition from the private sector which has created a variety of professional jobs in manufacturing and services sectors offering handsome salaries and other fringe benefits. Third, the civil service has faced mounting criticism in recent years for its inefficiency, and for its failure to modernise; and this may have spread a negative image among the potential entrants.2 It is important to note that the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) also laments the waning interest of highly qualified students in the civil service. 3 Against this backdrop, a survey was conducted to explore the students’ attitudes towards the civil service of Pakistan.4 This study reports some key findings of that survey. Section 2 provides some stylised facts about participants in the CSS examination based on secondary data. Section 3 spells out the survey methodology and highlights the key characteristics of the respondents. Section 4 examines students’ occupation choice in terms of a comparison between public and private sectors. Section 5 highlights student’s level of awareness about various aspects of the competitive examination while Section 6 explores students’ attitudes towards the civil service.5 Some key findings of the survey are summarised in the concluding section.