Spanish government announces largest civil service expansion

by Deborah Cater
Civil service new positions a record level

The Spanish Council of Ministers will approve more than 30,000 new vacancies for positions in the civil service this week. That is 8.5% more than last year’s supply. Negotiations on an agreement with the relevant trade unions are still underway this week.

Of the 30,445 new civil servant positions, 9,509 will be filled internally. Never before has the Spanish government made so many jobs available. This year, the Spanish Prime Minister is using the money from the European emergency fund to modernise the entire civil service.

With the so-called Facility for Recovery and Resilience (FHV), national governments must adjust their policies to the goals of the European Union. Until 2025, Spain will receive €140billion from this European recovery fund. The money must be used to realise a technological transformation (for which more than €4.5billion has been reserved), improve public business operations and streamline processes better. Investment must also be made in human capital. In other words, human contributions which produce economic value. The latter means for Spain the high number of temporary employment contracts within public functions must be reduced.

More permanent contracts for civil servants

According to a survey of the active labor force (EPA), 30% of all civil service contracts are now temporary. This makes Spain one of the European countries with the highest percentage of temporary contracts. In addition, officials in Spain have not only been under great pressure due to the current pandemic, but also between 2011 and 2017 due to the financial crisis. In those years, civil servants who left the workforce were sporadically replaced by new employees. As a result, the average age rose to above 52 years, which is more than ten years older than the average age of employees in the Spanish business community.

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Investment in technology

The Spanish government expects 51% of the current civil servants will retire in the next 8 years. Therefore, this group of workers must therefore be replaced in good time. The vacancies in 2021 will mainly focus on new talent within the exact sciences. With 2,924 new jobs, that’s 37% more than the number of jobs that became available in this area last year. A large proportion of these newly appointed civil servants (1,330 vacancies) will find a position within the IT sector.

Reinforcement of Spanish security services

Another 1,450 vacancies are earmarked for staff expansion at the Spanish tax authorities, for the purpose of modernising the tax system. The Justice Department is also undergoing a modernisation process engaging 1,200 new employees. 1,000 new employees will work to strengthen the prison system and 2,750 civil servants are still needed to manage government policy, including administrative staff, government inspectors and accountancy specialists. The Spanish security services (Guardia Civil, National Police and the army) will be reinforced with some 6,950 new employees.

This is not the first time the Spanish government has invested significantly more in expanding the civil service. Since Pedro Sánchez took office as Prime Minister of Spain in 2018, the job offer for civil servants has risen by 73% compared to Mariano Rajoy’s reign, which was between 2012 and 2017. Then a total of 63,394 government vacancies became available under Sánchez’s rule. There are now 109,718.

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