A record 399 women passed this year's exam for career-track positions in the central government, the National Personnel Authority said Monday. In all, 1,918 men and women passed.

Women made up 20.8 percent of the successful applicants, up 1.3 percentage points from last year, but below the record of 22.9 percent logged in 2012. Fifty-seven more women passed the exam this year than last.

Following interviews at ministries and agencies, about 700 men and women are expected to be hired around next April as national civil servants — the "career bureaucrats" responsible for policymaking at government offices.

There were 21,047 applicants, down 1,201 from last year, but 165 more of them passed. The decrease in the number of applicants is believed to be caused by an increase in job hunters in the private sector amid the improved economic climate.

The order of the top five universities with the most successful applicants remained unchanged from the previous three years: University of Tokyo (438), Kyoto University (160), Waseda University (140), Keio University (92) and Tohoku University (78).