With the Planning Commission down to bare bones, Ahsan Iqbal, the Minister for Planning and development is contemplating increasing the salary levels of top positions in an attempt to attract the best pool of candidates possible. The most prominent vacancy is that of Chief Economist, and despite taking interviews of potential candidates on two occasions, the government has not been able to find anyone suitable. The salary of public sector employs at the Management Payscale (MP–I), at Rs. 400,000, is not even half of the amount the private sector offers, where salaries for the same jobs can go as high as a million. Ahsan Iqbal also proposed that a new anti-corruption hotline should be set up to receive complaints of any transgressions by the bureaucracy, in the interest of increasing accountability. While this plan is admirable in theory, the flaws in the bureaucratic system and the indifference of this issue by successive governments gives little reason for optimism.

Any potential salary increment must be substantial and competitive with levels in the private sector if the government is hoping to attract the best applicants to vacant posts. However, the selection process for candidates must also be revised and made more transparent, so that anyone looking to apply to public sector jobs on higher levels is assured of a fair selection, and is aware of the criteria, as well as the job requirements. Those that are responsible for selection must also be screened to determine their capability and independence to choose the best possible applicants. Nepotism and favoritism are entrenched in the public sector, and the government must also ensure that the bureaucrats that are currently employed by the government, do not use their connections in the government to secure a pay raise using this initiative.

But a low salary is only part of the problem concerning the dearth in candidates applying for management posts in the top tier of the government. The public sector does not provide the environment of professionalism and transparency conducive to a good working atmosphere. The hierarchical structures of the bureaucracy, agenda-driven goals and constant interference by the political leadership into routine matters, makes jobs in the public sector unattractive for highly-qualified candidates. Unnecessary governmental interference, other than compromising the quality of work, also invites disrepute for employees, and serves as a warning sign for potential applicant. Unless all these issues are addressed, the vacancies are not likely to attract those that are best suited to the roles available.