Public employment and management

Acquiring Capacity


Recruiting the best candidates for the public workforce is important at a time when the loss of experienced employees due to redundancies and retirements is creating a talent shortage. Flexibility, combined with competency-based recruitment and a focus on increasing the diversity of the workforce, is necessary for public services to renew their skill base to meet changing service needs. Making the recruitment process fairer, more transparent and more flexible to attract talented people with a mix of backgrounds, experience and perspectives is also a key consideration. Workplace flexibilities like alternative work schedules, telework, and various leave programmes can help governments recruit and retain staff.


Central Government Recruitment Systems
Central government recruitment systems range between career-based and position-based systems in OECD member countries. A career-based system is characterised by competitive selection early in public servants' careers with higher-level posts open to public servants only. Career-based systems may cultivate a dedicated, experienced group of civil servants. In contrast, in a position-based system, candidates apply directly to a specific post and most posts are open to both internal and external applicants. In general, recruitment systems that are open to external candidates at any point in their careers provide managers with the possibility to adjust their workforce more quickly in response to a changed environment. However, while these systems offer managers flexibility, they make it difficult to maintain cross-government values.

Type of recruitment system used in central government (2012)

Type of recruitment system used in central government 2012

Working Conditions

The special staff arrangements and employment conditions for core government employees are at the heart of the state’s relationship to its employees and they are often firmly rooted in national tradition and administrative culture. As such, employment conditions and human resources systems such as recruitment procedures, career development, pay systems and social security benefits have traditionally been rather different in the public and private sectors in many countries. Until recently, some of the working conditions such as working hours and employee benefits tended to be more attractive in the public service than in the private sector in many countries. They remain an important part of the overall remuneration package of employees today and a tool for attracting qualified staff to government employment.

The total amount of time spent working during a year is an indicator of the overall working conditions in the civil service and is critical when comparing compensation packages.

 Average working hours per year by central government employees


Average working hours per year by central government


View with Statlink

Competency Management

Competency management helps governments define the abilities and behaviours people need to do their jobs well and link key human resource management activities to ensure that an organisation is staffed by people who perform effectively. Competency assessment can be used to judge how well applicants fit the requirements of a specific job. Developing a competency management framework can help recruiters improve the accuracy of candidate selection, increase employee retention, improve staff perception of job-fit, increase the job satisfaction of new recruits, produce efficiencies by reducing hiring costs, and improve interview effectiveness and decision making.

Specific public service competencies in selected OECD member countries


Key Questions

  • How effective are recruitment arrangements in selecting the right staff, in terms of skills and competencies?
  • How effective are policies to ensure that public officials are appointed on merit and maintain integrity in decision-making?
  • Are core values consistent with management practices and reforms over time?
  • Have governments established arrangements to enhance equal opportunities to enter the public service?


Further Reading




Related Documents