Is your public administration fit for the future?
The Spanish public sector saw itself confronted by this question recently. It ranks third among OECD countries with the highest percentage of civil servants in national public administrations aged 55 and older. Between 2010 and 2015 this percentage increased from 25% to 35%, a trend which seems to be ongoing (OECD (2017), Government at a Glance 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris.
In fact, the average age of civil servants in Spanish public administration (not counting armed forces and security) increased from 46 years in 2004 to 52 at the beginning of 2019. This is nearly a decade over the average age of Spain’s active population (42.5 years). This means that around 51% of national-level civil servants will retire within the next decade.
Along with an imminent wave of retirement, Spanish public administration is faced with the Europe-wide challenge of digital transformation and the need to attract young talent. Yet mass retirement also represents an opportunity. Civil service selection processes can be revised and adapted to future needs.
It is these concerns that led to the 10-11 April 2019 EIPA and IVAP ( Instituto Vasco de Administracion Publica, the Basque Institute of Public Administration) conference. More than 150 civil servants participated in the event. The conference presented a comparative view of civil service selection systems across Europe, focusing on Spanish national and local practices and lessons for improving the present (rather obsolete) system.
Initially, a brief diagnosis of the weaknesses of Spanish selection processes was provided, with a view to future reforms. The first morning was followed by a comparative examination of selection systems in neighboring countries. These constitute …read more