26 September 2023

HONG KONG: Officers quitting in record numbers

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More than 3,700 Hong Kong Public Servants quit their jobs in 2021, marking an almost three-fold jump from some 1,300 in 2017 and recording a new high since Hong Kong’s handover from the United Kingdom to China a quarter of a century ago.

Figures released by the Civil Service Bureau in answer to lawmakers’ questions showed the age group 25-to-30 saw the most exiting bureaucrats at 800.

“Reasons for leaving the Government included health conditions, family issues, studying, and finding a new job,” the Bureau said in a statement accompanying the data.

The Bureau said 89 Public Servants were arrested over the social unrest of 2019; five were convicted in court and authorities would be taking disciplinary actions against them.

It noted that 26 had the charges against them dropped or walked free after a trial “but they will still face an internal inquiry”.

“The number of Civil Servants who have worked for more than 10 years but left before the official retirement age was 1,345 in 2021-22, up from 331 in 2017-18.” the Bureau said.

It also noted that the Civil Service College, founded in 2021, was expected to spend about HK$27.3 million ($A5.2 million) for training courses on national affairs in the year 2023-24, jumping almost 24 times from HK$1.1 million ($A201,000) in the year 2020-21.”

The Bureau said the training guidelines were renewed last July, and applicants must complete courses on the Constitution, the Basic Law, and the National Security Law in order to gain long-term employment.

The head of Hong Kong’s Public Service, Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan promised to offer more training so its employees could move up the ranks.

“The Civil Service is like any other business. It takes a while for newcomers to adjust and one learns if the job fits him or her only after working for some time,” Ms Yeung said.

“So it is not a special case to see young people who have joined the Public Service for short periods leave.”

Hong Kong, 10 April 2023

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