The people who passed senior and junior exams for civil servants this year were older and had higher academic degrees than in previous years, according to Ministry of Examination statistics.
“The phenomenon of people being overqualified in the national examination could not be avoided,” chief secretary of the ministry Lin Kuang-chi (林光基) said.
The better educated and slightly older talent pool was the result of private company employees trying to get stable jobs in the government as a result of worries about future prospects, Lin said.
He pointed to records showing that many science and engineering graduates from prestigious universities have left private enterprises for the public sector. Minister of Examinations Tung Pao-cheng (董保城) said the trend would raise the caliber of government employees.
“It is a good thing to have older people, because they have more social experience and will have more empathy when serving as civil servants,” Tung said.
According to the ministry’s statistics, those who passed the senior exams taken in July averaged 29.63 years of age, up 0.67 years from the previous year. Among them, the oldest was a 60-year-old woman, while the youngest was 21 years old. Thirteen of those who passed the exam were over 51 years old, four times as many as last year.
The same trend was seen in the junior exams, with those who passed the test averaging 29.35 years of age, 0.44 years more than last year’s average. The oldest successful test taker was 57 years old and the youngest 20. There were 11 people over the age of 51 who passed the test, up from five last year.
Senior exam candidates are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but this year, over 40 percent had master’s or even doctoral degrees. The junior exam requires applicants to have only a high-school education, but over 95 percent of the test takers this year had bachelor’s degrees or above, and seven had PhDs.