Competence development and recruitment in the central government – Activities of government agencies

It is impossible to get a reliable overall picture of the central government's future staff needs as competence needs are not anticipated in government agencies, and the loss of competence is not taken sufficiently into consideration in the planning. Anticipation of the agencies' competence needs should be enhanced in order to support their staff planning.

The audit examined whether government agencies’ future staff needs are adequately planned and whether it is possible to meet the future needs with the currently used competence development and recruitment practices. The audit was targeted at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the State Treasury.

It is estimated that a significant proportion of the central government staff will leave employment in the near future due to retirement, for example. Ensuring efficient performance of central government tasks and the provision of high-quality services requires adequate competence at organizational level, which can be acquired by recruiting new employees and developing the competence of the current staff. The topic is significant for central government finances. In 2021, central government labour costs amounted to approximately EUR 4.8 billion and the number of employees was more than 70,000.

In addition to the strategy and operational objectives, the agencies’ staff planning is steered by financial resources. The number of staff, retirement, and other loss of personnel, as well as replacement recruitment play a key role in staff planning and foresight. The competence needed to achieve the objectives should also be systematically anticipated, and the loss of competence should be taken into account in order to ensure the provision of high-quality services even in the future. More attention should also be paid at central government level to the use of mobility as a method of competence development.

The recruitment process causes a lot of work and includes several stages. Replacing the significant loss of staff by recruitment requires efficiency. Ensuring this, in turn, requires the development of methods for evaluating the process.20