A saturated civil service

More than half of civil servants are only mid way through their service which means less new recruitments

RCSC: Talking to students of the Royal Thimphu College yesterday, chairman of the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Karma Tshiteem was blunt and honest.

He said the opportunities of getting a government job is lesser today and that the civil service is shrinking. Only around 26,000 of the country’s 0.7 million people are civil servants today, he said.

Karma Tshiteem explained that the growth rate for the civil service has drastically decreased over time. In the early 1990’s the annual growth rate of the civil service was 39 percent. Today it is about six to seven percent.

The civil service has reached a saturation point. Karma Tshiteem said that RCSC recruits over 1,000 individuals annually. “If we continue this practice, in 15 years we would be adding 15,000 more into the civil service,” he said.

Karma Tshiteem said that today 74 percent of civil servants were half-way through their service. “They have more than half of their life to continue in the profession. Which means we don’t need to recruit any additional people till this group reaches at least 60 years,” he said.

The highest growth rate is seen in the officer category (recent graduates who get through the Royal Civil Service Examination) followed by the support category.

The government spends almost 50 percent of the revenue to pay these 26,000 civil servants. Today, the RCSC has frozen all recruitments in the civil service. Karma Tshiteem said that the new mantra the RCSC has adopted is “re-deploy before recruit”. He added that there is an underutilisation of human resources in the civil service.

Karma Tshiteem pointed out that the reality of civil service employment has changed now. Providing an example of the B Ed graduates, he said that employment into the civil service is not guaranteed anymore. “We have enough teachers but they are not efficiently deployed. We cannot afford to keep recruiting more people when they are already in excess,” he said.

Karma Tshiteem said that if an individual wanted to join the civil service they need to be the “best and the brightest” from their group.

In order to curb the unemployment problem in the country, he said the commission has to recruit individuals on a contract basis which has started this year with the B Ed graduates.

He added that by keeping the government compact and efficient, civil servants well get the pay they deserve. “In this way we can be more competitive with the private sector and continue getting the best and the brightest individual in the service,” he said.

By Younten Tshedup

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