Governments in OECD countries are among the largest employers worldwide, and invest an average of 9.2% of GDP, or 22.5% of total government expenditures, in the wages of their public servants. When managed correctly, this investment ensures that governments have access to the people and skills they need to deliver policies and services that secure prosperity and reinforce trust in government. This requires public employment policies that enable effective people management in government.

Public Employment and Management is a new annual publication that provides governments with insights on how to maximise the impact of their investments in public employees. Each edition compiles recent work undertaken by the OECD on the changing nature of work in the public service and the policies needed to equip public servants with the necessary skills and tools.

This first 2021 edition looks at the future of the public service through four inter-related chapters and a set of illustrative case studies. It sets out a vision of a future-ready public service that is forward-looking, flexible and fulfilling to a diverse range of public employees, and provides insights to help governments achieve that vision. Public service leadership is key to achieving any future vision of the public service, and recruiting the next generation of public servants with the right skills and competencies is fundamental to renewing the public service. Both of these issues are highlighted and illustrated with new data from recent surveys.

Public Employment and Management is co-ordinated by Daniel Gerson, senior project manager in the Public Management and Budgeting Division of the OECD Public Governance Directorate, which is led by Elsa Pilichowski, Director. Jon Blondal, Head of Division, provides strategic oversight and guidance. Chapter 1 is drafted by Daniel Gerson, with input from Natalia Nolan-Flecha. Chapter 2 presents expert commentary by Professor Peter Cappelli, Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania. Chapter 3 is drafted by Felicitas Neuhaus. Donal Mulligan drafted chapter 4. Francois Villeneuve provided data analysis and support. The OECD Secretariat wishes to thank the Delegates to the Working Party on Public Employment and Management and the Public Governance Committee for their commitment and support to this work.

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