A total of 7,766 civil servants left their jobs in the year ended March 31, 2016, accounting for 4.7 percent of the 165,000 people serving in the government, according to data from the Civil Service Bureau.
Secretary for the Civil Service Clement Cheung called the departures natural attrition, saying it was consistent with the rush of retirements seen in recent years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
He said there is no need to worry about the situation as most of the people stopped being civil servants to retire. The bureau recruits more than 10,000 people to work in the government each year.
In a report to the Legislative Council panel on public service on Monday, the bureau said 1,056 resigned in the 2015-16 fiscal year while 6,000 retired during the same period.
Both numbers were the highest since 2001 and 2002, respectively.
The attrition rate for doctorate civil servants was at 9.4 percent, nearly double the 5 percent seen 15 years ago.
In addition, 665 people who were hired by the government quit before their probation period ended.
A survey conducted by the bureau found there were three main reasons for quitting, including family issues, job offers in the private sector and study.
Asked by lawmakers if the high attrition rate would affect the normal operation of the government, Cheung said it should not be a problem because the ratio of resignations is still quite low.
He said the fact that Hong Kong’s labor market has tightened leaves young civil servants more job choices.
However, to ensure the government will not suffer from shortage of manpower, Cheung said the retirement age for civil servants, based on the needs of different departments and ranks, will be extended by five more years at the most, according to am730.
He also said race has never been a factor when it comes to hiring for the civil service.
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