Hong Kong, May 15 (ANI): Nearly 2,000 civil servants quit working for the Hong Kong government in 2020-21, the highest annual figure in at least 15 years, South China Morning Post reported.
The number choosing to leave has steadily been rising since 2006-07 when about 400 government workers - around 0.3 per cent - left. The number surpassed the 1,000 mark in 2015-16, or roughly 0.65 per cent, according to a paper prepared for legislators by the Civil Service Bureau which encompasses the past 15 years. However, the figure for 2020-21 represented 1.05 per cent.
While the government argued that percentage-wise, the number leaving was insignificant, some lawmakers want civil servants to be offered better packages to stop the continuing exodus.
"In 2020-21, the wastage in the civil service was about 8,500, accounting for around 4.8 per cent of the strength," the Bureau said adding that "Retirement was the primary reason for departure of civil servants, while the other reasons, including resignation, completion of agreement and death, accounted for only a small proportion of wastage."
The bureau added that the majority of those who resigned left before the end of their probationary period. "It is understandable that probationers, who are at the initial stage of their civil service career, would leave the service during their probationary period if they find it unsuitable to develop a long-term career in the government,"
According to South China Morning Post, Unionist lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, who chairs the panel on public service at the Legislative Council where the paper will be discussed next Monday, agreed that "given a 170,000-something-strong civil service, having 1,000-plus people leave in a year may not look a big deal".
But he said that it was not something to be taken "too lightly" and placed the blame for the rise in resignations on "new terms" introduced by the government in 2000, which said those joining the service after June that year would not be entitled to pension benefits, and medical and dental benefits after retirement.
"The remuneration package has lost its competitive edge when compared to that offered by the private sector," Kwok said.
The government is the largest employer in Hong Kong. As of March 31 this year, about 2.4 per cent of the Hong Kong population worked in the government, or about 4.6 per cent of the city's workforce.
In the wake of the huge deficits, the government has announced a zero growth in the civil service establishment for the 2021-22 financial year.
Last month, the government said that 129 of the civil servants did not sign the declaration, of whom at least 25 resigned. (ANI)