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Is SSC-CGL a Good Career Option? Should I Opt for SSC-CGL Exam?

Before getting on to the main points, let’s consider a few basic things. There are so many opportunities and career options in today’s time that one can do anything according to one’s wish and priority. Every individual is different and has a different expectation from his life, it’s totally up to him what career path he wants to choose. Here I’ll present just the crude facts related to what you might face once you decide to go for SSC CGL. Once you are aware of the ground reality, it will help you to make an informed choice.

6 Facts about SSC-CGL as a Career Path.


  1. Unpredictability of exam:- No matter how hard you work, there is always some role of luck in any multiple choice question(MCQ) based exam. It is perfectly understandable that you can minimize the role of luck by sheer hard work but still there is something which you can’t exactly control. You can ensure your selection by hard work but there are still so many things left even after selection. Each mark can change your grade pay, each mark can make you miss your desired post, each mark can throw you out of your hometown and so on. Let me cite an example here. In SSC CGL 2016, the cutoff for the last post was 513 in general category. Someone with a score of 512.5 might have missed a job for sure. So close yet so far! Let’s go a one step further. The cutoff for the post of an income tax inspector, which is one of the most popular job profiles in SSC CGL, was 558.75. There were so many different types of posts in this range of 513-558.75. Each extra mark could have helped candidates to get their desired post rather than just a job. Even if someone surpasses cutoff for income tax inspector, there is still another obstacle left. Most of the aspirants in SSC CGL are from North India and almost all of them want their posting near their hometown or in their home state. Just crossing the cutoff for the post won’t ensure the desired location. After selection as an income tax inspector, income tax department asks selected candidates to give their zone preference. Now based on one’s rank among candidates selected for income tax inspector, one is allocated zone. Luck plays a huge role here as one getting one’s desired zone depends on so many things like zone wise vacancies, rank, his choices etc. One can never be sure of getting his desired zone or location until one actually gets it. One prominent example of such incident is Dhiraj Singh Chauhan who despite getting an All India rank of 27, couldn’t get his desired location.

  2. Growth:- In government services, growth and salary increments are predefined. Even if someone is an outstanding performer in his duty, he will not get extra increment or any extra incentive. This thing works both ways. Those with laid back attitude will enjoy this arrangement in a job but those who want to grow through the ranks will find it difficult and depressing. Promotions are seniority based and there is no substantial pay increment in most of these. Highest paying job through SSC CGL carries an annual starting CTC of 10 lakhs. It’s not a bad start to a career for someone in age range of 22-25 or even more but salary increases by less than 10% per year. There is an annual increment of 3% in basic salary and DA (dearness allowance) is increased twice a year. There won’t be any substantial pay increment even when you get promotion. Yes, there is a pay commission but it comes into the picture only once in ten years. 
  3. Respect:- Respect and attention one gets after joining the department through SSC CGL is the greatest recipe of this exam. Imagine the kind of respect and attention you get when you introduce yourself as an Income tax inspector or Excise inspector or Preventive officer or any ministry. Sounds great, right? But there is another dimension while analyzing this point. You will get a lot of respect outside the office but you are just one of the employees in the department. For example, an Income tax inspector is one of the lowest ranks in the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) hierarchy. Those who clear UPSC CSE and join as Assistant Commissioner (IRS) will get all the attention and respect inside the department. Even if you reach this rank after promotions, you won’t get the same respect that direct recruit gets. Also, no matter how many promotions or experience you have, you’ll not reach anywhere near the status of IAS/IPS. 
  4. Accommodation:- No matter what the source is but whenever you read or listen about the perks of government jobs, you’ll notice everyone saying about decent accommodation/quarter provided. Yes, it is true but it’s not absolute. Let’s try to analyze it. Getting an accommodation is purely based on the availability in your respective city. Usually, there is a long queue to get a government quarter. If the department, where you are working has its own specialized colony in your city then chances of getting accommodation are high but it’s not the case everywhere. For example, Assistant Section officer recruited in CSS or any other ministry in Delhi will hardly get government accommodation before 10 years of service! Sometimes it’s not possible to get a quarter even after 10 years. The situation is not very bright in other cities too but it is worse in Delhi. It totally depends on your department, your location and so many other factors. Since we are discussing accommodation here, let’s go a step further and debunk a myth. Many of the students think that government accommodation you get is free of cost. No, it’s not the case. There is a component in government salary at the name of HRA (house rent allowance). Either you will get accommodation or HRA. 
  5. Time for preparation of other exams:- Many candidates who want to prepare for UPSC civil services or state PCS end up choosing SSC CGL as a backup option. They plan to prepare along with a job which is very much feasible but again not absolute. There are two off days in a week, so many other holidays and many casual leaves. It’s very much possible to keep studying even with the job. But after 8 hours in the office and an hour or two of traveling, you might not get very much time on a daily basis. Also, there are some other factors too. Some posts through SSC CGL like Sub Inspector in CBI, Assistant Enforcement Officer etc has a huge workload that makes it difficult to manage studies along with the job. Even in the same department, workload varies from seat to seat and on your immediate senior. All these factors must be in your favor to provide you the best possible opportunity. But if you have the fire burning in your belly, you will find a way. 
  6. Corruption:- There is this misconception among many people that a government employee earns huge under the table money. It is not entirely a rumor but not entirely a fact either. There is some scope of corruption in some of the posts offered by SSC CGL but it’s on the wane ever since digitalization started. Also, there is always this inherent risk of getting caught even when you get a chance. Once you are caught, your career and respect are gone permanently. Secondly, corruption is a double-edged sword. A corrupt man can hardly sleep peacefully. Also, you won’t be able to spend most of your under the table money (provided you get some) as there will be a risk of arising suspicion. You will certainly lose your peace of mind if you indulge in corrupt activities. Salary offered by the government in posts under SSC CGL is more than enough to satisfy one’s needs but not one’s greed. This scope of corruption should not be your parameter while deciding your career option.

Backup options for SSC-CGL Aspirant.

Concluding Note:- As I said at the beginning of this article that every individual is different and they carry their own tastes. Some people want a peaceful life while the others want adventurous one. I have explained here some basic information related to what to expect after clearing SSC CGL. We must be aware of what we would get after selection so that we can motivate ourselves and make an informed choice. The facts that I explained here were intended to give you a clear picture of what to expect and help you in making your mind. Whether SSC CGL is a good career option or not doesn’t carry a specific answer but still, it’s a great career option for most of the people.

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