Attitudes Towards Civil Service of Pakistan: A Perception Survey

Faheem Jehangir Khan, Mr. Musleh Ud Din


The Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) is generally regarded as a
prestigious occupation offering numerous perks and benefits along with
administrative power and high social status. Each year, thousands of
applicants compete for a prized job in the civil service and only a
fraction eventually makes it.1 Yet in recent years there has been a
growing perception that the civil service might be losing its allure for
at least three reasons. First, the salary structure of the civil service
has not kept pace with the cost of living making it difficult for civil
servants to maintain a decent living standard. Second, there has been a
growing competition from the private sector which has created a variety
of professional jobs in manufacturing and services sectors offering
handsome salaries and other fringe benefits. Third, the civil service
has faced mounting criticism in recent years for its inefficiency, and
for its failure to modernise; and this may have spread a negative image
among the potential entrants.2 It is important to note that the Federal
Public Service Commission (FPSC) also laments the waning interest of
highly qualified students in the civil service. 3 Against this backdrop,
a survey was conducted to explore the students’ attitudes towards the
civil service of Pakistan.4 This study reports some key findings of that
survey. Section 2 provides some stylised facts about participants in the
CSS examination based on secondary data. Section 3 spells out the survey
methodology and highlights the key characteristics of the respondents.
Section 4 examines students’ occupation choice in terms of a comparison
between public and private sectors. Section 5 highlights student’s level
of awareness about various aspects of the competitive examination while
Section 6 explores students’ attitudes towards the civil service.5 Some
key findings of the survey are summarised in the concluding

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