The paper examines the structure, reforms and challenges of the contemporary Bangladesh Civil Service. It provides an overview of the public administration system; an evaluation of reforms and innovations that have been “allowed”; the present recruitment procedure; and the extent and impact of politicization. Recruitment and politicization are the key problems identified and discussed. To explore these problems further we conducted qualitative, interview-based primary research with recent university graduates, and entry-level, mid-career and retired civil servants. The second part of the paper reports the analysis of the survey data.