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LCQ4: Attrition rate of Administrative Officer grade

     Following is a question by the Hon Margaret Ng and a reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council today (December 1):


     It has been reported that more than 10 members of the Administrative Officer (AO) grade had left the civil service this year, which was the largest ever surge in departure. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)of the number of members of the AO grade leaving the service in the past five years, and the percentage of that number in the total number of members in the grade;

(b)whether the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) has proceeded with any survey and study to find out the reasons of the high turnover rate of the AO grade this year; if it has, of the outcome of the study; if it has not, whether it will launch such survey and study; if it will not, of the reasons for that; and

(c)whether CSB will adopt any improvement measure to address the problem of high turnover rate of the AO grade; if it will, of the specific measures; if not, the reasons for that?



     On part (a) of the question, the attrition rate of the AO grade varied from year to year, but generally did not fluctuate much. In the past five financial years, the number of members leaving the Grade ranged between 16 and 24 each year, representing an annual attrition rate of about 3% to 4.5%. The relevant figures are set out at the Annex. The reasons for leaving the AO grade include retirement, resignation, termination of agreement or transfer to other grades.

     On part (b) of the question, CSB has been closely monitoring the situation of members leaving the AO grade. Whenever an AO informs us of his/her intention to resign, we endeavour to understand the reasons behind. Generally speaking, some AOs left the service for having found the job not in tune with their characters or abilities; some left for family reasons; some wanted to pursue their own academic goals; some were appointed as political appointees; some took up jobs in other fields outside the Government; and some left just for a change in life. Members of the AO grade left the service for similar reasons in this financial year.

     On part (c) of the question, the majority of the AO grade see their service in the grade as fulfilment of their life-long goal and have long-term commitment for serving the community. We hope to provide them with a life-long career in which they can make the best use of their talents and attain job satisfaction. The AO grade Management and I maintain close contact with Grade members. Through regular communication, we can understand their expectation about their career and problems encountered when performing their duties so that we can offer appropriate and timely assistance to them. We pay close attention to the job content and workload etc., of every AO post. All proposals from bureaux and departments for creating or deleting AO posts or changing the responsibilities of the posts are thoroughly examined by CSB.

     We have developed and implemented a training and development framework for AOs at different ranks, which is under constant review for improvement with addition of new training programmes. We also provide AOs with exchange opportunities with the private sector, as well as overseas and Mainland authorities and organisations, so as to broaden their horizons. For new recruits, we provide induction training to help them adapt to the work environment and develop a better understanding of government operation. The induction training comprises classroom learning, visits and tours to government departments and other organisations, and experience sharing sessions with other AOs and civil servants in other grades.

     AOs stand a chance of being eventually promoted to the highest rank in the civil service, i.e., as permanent secretaries at Directorate Pay Scale D8. The AO job is also competitive in the labour market. Over the past eight years, we planned to recruit only about 25 to 30 AOs annually, and we received an average of more than 12,000 applications every year.

     We will review grade management practices from time to time to ensure that they meet present-day circumstances and are in line with the Government's operational needs and AOs' expectation.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:37


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