Planned reforms of wage scales would see ability and experience considered Mainland public servants' pay would no longer be based solely on their duties under a revision to the civil service system being considered by the government. Instead, their remuneration would also be based on their ability, accomplishments and experience, according to the Jiangsu-based Yangtze Evening News. The change is part of an ongoing revision to the civil service laws. Apart from increasing productivity, the move also aims to entice civil servants to stay on with the government by creating greater flexibility in pay scales. At present, the civil service is divided into 15 ranks, from clerk to premier. An official's remuneration package is determined by rank and sub-rank. 'Currently, salary and benefits are decided in accordance with a person's title, so becoming a high-ranking official is the main goal of many newcomers as soon as they enter the public service,' said Song Shiming , a State School of Administration professor who participated in the law's drafting. 'However, this has a negative impact on Chinese politics.' Under the draft law, all government positions will be further grouped under the job types of administration and regulation implementation, judicial affairs, professional technology and comprehensive management, increasing the number of ranks and sub-ranks. The increase is aimed at giving officials more chance to improve remuneration over the course of their careers. At present, the number of positions decreases dramatically as people move higher up the chain of command. All public servants start off as clerks. More than 90 per cent of the nation's civil servants are clerks or have the lowest official rank of vice-section chief. According to a government survey in 2002, almost 65 per cent of the lowest-ranked cadres in 33 party and government departments in Guangdong had been working at those levels for more than a decade. 'The introduction of more ranks is aimed at better motivating the lower-ranked civil servants by acknowledging their performance, tenure and ability,' Mr Song said, which is expected to boost their efficiency and reduce corruption. Yang Huai , a 27-year-old civil servant in Shanghai Customs, said: 'I started this job in 1999 after graduating from university and although five years have passed I'm still a clerk, so I'm going to quit. It's true that I have a stable life because of this job, but I'm just tired of the bureaucracy and the lack of objective appraisal.' Promotions are supposed to be evaluated by looking at a person's track record and their ability. The government asked experts to start working on the draft in 2001 in an attempt to widen the nation's political reform. The civil service law covers the employment of civil servants, their salaries, welfare, promotions and legal responsibilities.