Poor working conditions: 28 OMG officers quit service in five years

Published: June 6, 2016
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 PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Typical working environments, meagre pay, fewer perks and privileges saw over two dozen officers quit the civil service for better opportunities over the past five years.

News of their voluntary departure came when a report on civil appointments was presented in the Senate recently.

The report said that 1,123 positions in 12 different government service groups have been filled from 2011 to 2015, including 214 in the Office Management Group (OMG).

However, of those appointed to the OMG during this period, 28 officers or 13 per cent, have quit. A break up of the figures showed that four officers quit their jobs in 2011, seven in 2012, 10 in 2013, one in 2014, and six in 2015.

The OMG is one of the 12 different government branches in which officers are appointed after clearing tough examinations. These include commerce and trade, customs and excise, district management group, foreign service, income tax, information group, military land and cantonments, office management, audit and accounts service, police, postal and railways group.

These officers are appointed after successfully passing the Central Superior Services (CSS) exams, which are spread over a number of examinations, interviews and reviews.

The difficulty of becoming an officer is evident in how the written exam, the first hurdle for CSS hopefuls, had very low clearance rates. In 2013 only 1.93 per cent of those who appeared cleared the exam, 3.3 per cent in 2014, and 2.86 per cent in 2015. In 2015, only 238 of the 23,412 candidates who applied for CSS were appointed after clearing written exam and an interview.

Curiously, the report presented in the Senate notes that departures over the past five years were reported only in the OMG, while none of the officers appointed in the 11 other groups left.

One senior bureaucrat explained that it could be down to the different treatment of officers in OMG when compared to other departments.

“A typical working environment and less perks and privileges available to officers placed under office management group are prime reasons to quit the job,” the senior bureaucrat told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

He added that OMG officers, appointed against a basic scale of grade-17, are paid a meagre amount.

“They [OMG officers] are placed in the secretariat, where perks and privileges are fewer when compared to other departments and available only to senior officers,” he said.

The senior officer added that unlike officers in OMG, those appointed in other groups have the opportunity to avail special perks and privileges like accommodation, government vehicles and other perks.

Furthermore, OMG officers remain encircled by their clerical staff and work is limited to putting up files for approval of the grade-22 secretary.

“Such working environment makes the job unpleasant sometimes and that is why OMG is not considered as attractive as the other 11 groups,” he said, adding that among hopefuls the group’s placement is considered to be at the bottom.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2016.

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