The Ministry of Finance is negotiating a new public employment offer with the unions. Sources from the Central Independent Trade Union and Officials (CSIF) indicate that the latest offer from the department headed by María Jesús Montero is for 23,000 jobs. The proposal is for 14,000 new jobs and 9,000 for internal promotion. The Workers’ Commissions consider that the Treasury could still improve its offer, although they believe there will be no “substantial” changes. The ministry prefers not to give details about these meetings, which it hopes to finalize before the end of May. The next meeting is held this Thursday. These positions are added to the 109,778 that the Government has launched since it was chaired by Pedro Sánchez, who took office in 2018. The total, if the figures indicated by the unions are confirmed, would amount to some 132,000 positions in State administrations.
Rafael Martínez, 31, aspires to one of those positions. “I want to work in the public sector because my experience in the private company was not good. And my close circle doesn’t have very positive experiences either, ”he says by phone from La Zubia (Granada). “One day”, he continues, “I realized that at 30 years of age I still had another 37 years of work ahead of me. I prefer to invest it in something stable, safe”. He is preparing for the procedural procedure exam and the judicial assistance exam. “Lately it seems that there is a greater supply of places,” he adds. José Luis Cantalapiedra has the same perception: “I have read that there are more vacancies,” says this 29-year-old procedural management opponent from Alcalá de Henares (Madrid). He spends 12 hours a day learning the 68 topics of the opposition from him: “There are nerves, but I am preparing everything I can.”
The 23,000 positions negotiated by the Treasury and the unions are 24% less than in the last public employment offer launched by the Executive, in the summer of 2021. With 30,445 positions, it was the largest in history. In 2020 and 2019, some 28,000 places were offered each year, while in 2018 the figure was similar to that now proposed by the Treasury.
In previous years, with Mariano Rajoy as Prime Minister and in the midst of an economic crisis, public employment offers plummeted. The poorest data of that time was that of 2012, when the Executive only enabled 2,922 new places. Then a progressive growth began, parallel to the economic improvement, until the 2017 offer, the last of the PP with 20,911 places (2,000 less than the first of Pedro Sánchez).
The few incorporations of that time exhausted the staff of the central administration, without spare parts for the workers who were retiring. In 2011 there were 592,531 employees dependent on the State, 80,000 more than in 2018, according to the Statistical Bulletin of personnel at the service of Public Administrations. The coming to power of the PSOE stopped the bleeding, but it has not strengthened the workforce. In July 2021 there were 516,400, only 4,000 more than at the worst moment under the PP mandate. “At this rate, it would take 14 years for us to recover a workforce similar to the one we had before the crisis,” criticize CSIF sources. The details of this new public employment offer or which sectors will be further strengthened are not yet known. It is known that these new positions will be put out to tender with the new rules for access to the public function —approved in 2021—, which establish, among other measures, that interims who have been in their position for five years will become permanent without opposition.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
an aging template
The pace of public contracting is conditioned by the aging of the workforce: 65.54% of State administration workers are over 50 years old. “In 10 years, 60% of the current workforce will have retired,” CSIF denounces. “We are in a worrying middle age. That is a symptom of a sick company. Political will is needed to find a response to this problem”, adds Josetxo Gándara, head of CC OO Trade Union Action in the State Administration.
One of the solutions to this problem, believes Gándara, is to execute the squares more quickly. That is to say, that less time elapses between the announcement of the position and the materialization of the contract: “Now people are entering from positions offered in the royal decree of 2019. From 2020 or 2021 no one has entered. We have been talking about offers classified as exceptional for several years, which were supposed to restore the lost workforce, but the truth is that the management of the calls is delaying everything”.
The representative of CC OO asks the Treasury to execute the largest possible number of places “urgently”. “There are areas with many shortcomings, with extraordinary workforce deficits,” he criticizes. He believes that the underfunding of the State Public Employment Service, Social Security and other services of direct contact with the citizen is especially worrying. “They get tremendous complaints from users.” He also believes that areas such as transport inspection, such as railways, culture or science, must be strengthened.
Gándara also highlights the importance of “modernizing” the public administration. For this, the Executive of Pedro Sánchez will use European funds. The recovery and resilience plan, which includes the reforms and investments committed to Brussels in exchange for the 140,000 million in aid until 2025, contains a chapter on the modernization of Public Administrations, through technological transformation to improve management, streamline processes and strengthen human capital.
The regional workforce grows
Since 2011, the State has dropped 76,000 workers by the wayside (13%), but the total number of public employees has grown slightly since then (1.4%), reaching 2,728,749 in July 2021. This is due to the growth of the templates of the autonomous communities: they have increased by 20.55% in a decade, reaching 1,624,811 workers. On the other hand, the municipalities have lost 59,000 employees in the same period, 9.1%. “It is logical that the communities have more and more workers, since they have more and more skills. But this does not mean that what has not been transferred should be neglected. There are extremely important areas in which the administration pays finalist attention and in which the losses have been immense”, concludes Gándara.