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Ageing and the Public Service

Human Resource Challenges

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Government workforces are ageing even more rapidly than the rest of society. This raises specific challenges and opportunities. An ageing public service increases fiscal burdens while decreasing immediate capacities to deliver services. In the long run, however, it also offers a strategic opportunity to downsize the public sector workforce if necessary and to change employment conditions and the management of government employees where this is deemed reasonable. This book reviews the experience of 9 OECD member countries in this field. It presents some conclusions on strategies that countries could implement in order to adjust their human resource policies to the wider ageing challenge. 

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Ageing and the Public Service in Denmark

Relative to other OECD member countries studied, the ageing strategy of the Danish government is quite robust, even ambitious. The strategy effectively balances two sets of measures and priorities, corresponding to the two main objectives of the ageing strategy: containment of rising public expenditures (pensions, public wages, healthcare, etc.) and maintenance of capacity. Three major dimensions of the ageing strategy can be identified: i) the human resource aspects, designed specifically for the central government; ii) the institutional and welfare aspects, which entail public sector-wide restructuring; and iii) the adaptation of management tools.

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