Civil servants will still retire at 60 despite staff shortages

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 3:42am


The government says the time is not right to raise the retirement age for civil servants, even though the service faces a wave of departures in the next five years.

Secretary for the Civil Service Paul Tang Kwok-wai said yesterday that many civil servants joined the administration in the 1980s and would soon reach the retirement age of 60. But concerns among young staff, who fear their path to promotion will be blocked if older people are kept on, mean now is not the time to raise the retirement age.

Tang's comments come despite the recommendations of the government's Steering Committee on Population Policy, which said in May that later retirement for everyone would help the city cope with its ageing population.

"It is a controversial issue. The young civil servants are concerned that this will affect their chances of getting promoted to higher positions. We need to consider whether our colleagues accept postponing the retirement age," Tang said.

According to Civil Service Bureau statistics, 3,800 civil servants retired on average each year between 2006 and last year. That is expected to rise to 5,200 a year in the years up to 2016, and then to 6,900 a year between 2016 and 2021.

Instead of postponing the retirement age, Tang said the government would recruit people in departments that faced shortages, giving younger civil servants promotion opportunities.

Departments will also review their division of labour and look at whether some offices are overmanned and whether staff could be redeployed to other offices in need of more manpower.

Tang said it would be difficult to predict how many new staff would have to be recruited to the 167,000-strong civil service.