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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Executive Summary

An ageing population creates immediate pressures for changes in both service delivery and in human resources management in government. In reviewing strategies to address these pressing issues, this research project had several strands. It entailed a general literature review, preliminary scoping research in all OECD member countries, and an analysis of data from the latest OECD Survey on Strategic Human Resources Management (HRM). Most particularly, this research also developed a snapshot of ageing policies and actions in nine OECD countries: Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. The range of countries studied in this report suggests that its conclusions are indicative of broader OECD trends.

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