Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Civil Service graduate and non-graduate career tracks

07 February 2017

Parliamentary Sitting: 7 February 2017

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Prime Minister in light of the merging of career tracks for graduate and non-graduate civil servants (a) whether different educational qualifications affect compensation, starting pay, training, career progression and exposure for individuals at the same grade; (b) whether civil servants who are recipients of Government or statutory board scholarships have compensation, starting pay, training, career progression and exposure that are different from other civil servants; and (c) how does the Current Estimated Potential model take educational attainment into account. 

Oral Reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister in charge of the Civil Service:

The objective of merging the career tracks for graduates and non-graduates is to equalise opportunities for career progression and development. 

At the entry level, officers are paid based on their assigned job responsibilities and demonstrated qualities, which include leadership and relevant experience. Where an officer does not have relevant work experience, in particular for those just entering the workforce, their performance in their educational institutions, which includes both academic and non-academic accomplishments will be taken into consideration as a proxy.

Once an officer is on the job, it is performance and readiness for bigger job responsibilities that matter. A non-graduate who has demonstrated the same qualities as a graduate will be given the same development and advancement opportunities. 

In particular, all officers who perform well and show potential for leadership are given the opportunity to participate in development programmes and considered for higher positions. This approach applies to all officers, regardless of whether they are scholarship recipients or not. Once the scholarship recipients return from their studies, they are assessed and placed on the same schemes of service and their salaries are also determined in the same way as non-scholarship recipients.

Civil service agencies use Currently Estimated Potential (or CEP) as one tool to assess officers for their readiness for bigger job responsibilities. An officer’s CEP is assessed based on demonstrated “AIM” qualities, which stand for (1) Analytical and Intellectual Capacity; (2) Influence and Collaboration; and (3) Motivation for Excellence.  The CEP assessment is not based on the officer’s starting educational qualifications. CEP is based on assessments of whether the officer has demonstrated the qualities required for jobs with larger responsibilities. The Public Service Leadership Programme (PSLP) is one example of how officers with demonstrated performance and potential for higher responsibilities are developed. Officers from a wide range of educational, professional and work backgrounds have been placed on the PSLP when they have shown good performance and potential.