Monday 26 September 2016

Average civil service age to reach 50 by 2020, TD warns

Published 06/07/2015 | 02:30

Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee
Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee

The average age of State employees is increasing steadily - prompting warnings of a lack of diversity throughout the civil service.

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New figures show that the average age of civil servants now stands at 47.9 years, compared to 43.2 years in 2007.

The data illustrates a steady increase in the age profile of civil servants since the recruitment embargo.

And the information has prompted a warning from the Dáil's youngest female TD that there is now a clear lack of "diversity" within the civil service.

Meath East TD Helen McEntee said the figures illustrate the need to make more career opportunities available for young people who are seeking a job outside of the private sector. She added that the average age of civil servants will reach 50 by 2020 if these trends continue.

"The average age of civil servants has consistently crept upwards over the past decade," Ms McEntee told the Irish Independent last night. "Any successful organisation needs diversity, be that of gender or age.

"We need people of all ages in the civil service but unfortunately the Irish civil service does not have that diversity at the moment. Unfortunately, too much of the focus in the public sector since then has been on restoring pay and conditions for existing public servants.

"While that is important, it is also important that younger people are given a chance to apply for early career jobs in the civil service. That has only happened in a limited sense so far and needs to be improved."

Ms McEntee said some global firms are choosing Ireland for investment due to the young workforce at their disposal. However, she said it is important that opportunities are also available in the public sector.

"The likes of Google and LinkedIn are basing themselves in Ireland to take advantage of the highly skilled young workforce that we have. Yet these figures show how few of these young professionals are being given a chance to work for the Irish state," she added.

Minister Brendan Howlin acknowledged that the recruitment ban has contributed to the increase in the average age of civil servants. But he said that opportunities are now being made available to young people

"The Public Appointments Service has already held a number of open graduate recruitment campaigns for the civil service this year...and more are scheduled in the coming year," he said.

Irish Independent

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