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Understanding ageing public sector workforces : demographic challenge or a consequence of public employment policy design?
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Linda ColleyLinda Colley
In all OECD countries, populations and workforces are ageing, with public services generally being older than broader labour markets. Governments are concerned at the looming capacity crisis and identifying policy responses. However, they have gen- erally identified the problem as a simple change in demographics. This article adds a new perspective to this policy debate. Using a study of an Australian state public service, it identifies an association between changes in public employment policies and changes in the workforce age profile. It suggests that current employment policies, which replaced the traditional focus on youth recruitment with a more open public sector labour market, have made it inevita- ble that public workforces would age and be older than the general labour market. Policy responses to the older public workforce need to go beyond demographic explana- tions, to accept the older public workforce as the new norm, and align public employ ment policies accordingly.