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Engineers dominate IAS Main Exam (UPSC Civil Services Exam) – Statistical Analysis

Jagran Josh

Traditionally, the coveted UPSC Civil Services Exam, which is known as the IAS exam in popular parlance, was a field dominated by candidates from the humanities background. However, with changing times and re-structuring of the IAS examination in recent this phenomenon has come to an end. Since 2010, there has been a visible rise in the number of candidates from technical backgrounds, especially engineers, not only taking up civil services preparation but also cracking this test quite regularly. In last few years, the graduate engineers have come to dominate the IAS Prelims and IAS Mains Results with statistics of final selections backing them up as well.

Rising Domination of Engineers in IAS Main Exam Results – Statistical Proof

Many experts have brushed aside this new trend, terming it as a temporary phenomenon due to lack of good employment opportunities in core engineering fields. However, there has been a consistent rise in the number of engineers cracking the IAS Main Exam since 2010, which can’t be ignored anymore. The trend has been even stronger in last three years since the implementation of CSAT format for the IAS Prelims exam. The proof for this can also be seen in the statistics published by the UPSC in their annual reports.

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For years 2012 and 2013, the commission had published statistics for number of candidates interviewed instead of number of candidates recommended as in earlier reports.

Looking at the statistics given above, we can clearly evaluate and come to a conclusion that selection of candidates from technical backgrounds is on the rise in the civil services examination. One of the key takeaways from the above data is that total number of selections of humanities candidates has fallen below 50% from 2010 onwards. In 2009, of the total number of candidates (11,865), nearly 47.5% candidates (5631) were from humanities background. This saw a dramatic drop in 2010, with the percentage of candidates from humanities background falling to 31.3%, which translates to 3515 of total 11237 candidates. Amongst the candidates recommended for appointment, the highest percentage of candidates at 91.09% had Humanities as academic background, followed by Science at 6.97%, Medical at 1.49% and Engineering at 0.46%.

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This situation completely changed in 2010 as demonstrated by the statistics. As far as academic backgrounds of the recommended candidates are concerned, 0.6% of the candidates were having M.Phil/ Ph.D qualifications. Amongst the rest, 40.2% were from Engineering, followed by 37.1%, 11.1% and 11.0% from Humanities, Science and Medical Sciences respectively. But contrary to their academic backgrounds, majority of successful candidates (92.5%) opted for optional subjects from humanities background; followed by 4.8%, 1.9% and 0.8% related to Science, Medical Sciences and Engineering respectively.

In short, since 2010 onwards, the dominance of engineering graduates in the civil services examination has been on the rise as demonstrated in the table below:


1. All statistics are taken from annual reports published by UPSC on their official website

2. For years 2012 and 2013, the commission had published statistics for number of candidates interviewed instead of number of candidates appeared as in earlier reports

3. Success rate is the number of candidates recommended as a percentage of those appeared

The above data clearly proves that the domination of engineering students has been on a gradual rise in the civil services examinations not only in terms of appearance but also when it comes to overall success ratio.

While many are not ready to accept that engineers have come to dominate the civil services examination, the statistics presented by the UPSC leave little doubt to this fact. In fact, the recent changes in the style and format of the IAS Prelims and mains exam surely suit the requirements of candidates from a technical background much better compared to others. We can also safely say that the changing dynamics of the civil services exam has served as the perfect ground for UPSC to hunt for technocrats, which is the need of the hour as far as public administration is concerned.

Now that we have established this fact, it is time to identify the factors which have contributed to this trend of engineering graduates taking up IAS examination. To find out the key reasons behind the high success rate of Engineers in IAS Main examination, Click Here

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