Skip to main content

Our publications


"Dashboard of public employment: situation in France and International Comparisons"

"Dashboard of public employment: situation in France and International Comparisons"


 Vincent Chriqui, Director of the Centre d’analyse stratégique and Jean-François Verdier, Director General of Administration and Public Service released the "Dashboard of public employment: situation in France and International Comparisons" , Tuesday, February 8, 2011.

Comparative approach to the situation of public employment

  • Public employment as a variable adjustment of public finances

Faced with the growing deficit in public finances, the question of a possible "on-administration" is often raised in France. It concerns the levers that the government should focus: is it to put pressure on operating expenses or spending on transfer, knowing that the increasing weight of public expenditure is largely attributable to increased recent (including health and old age)?

The transformations of the public sector internationally can decisively influence the shape and functions of government. The observation and the importation of "good practices" foreign structure increasingly representations of what is desirable. Some OECD countries have committed during the 1980-1990 reforms of public administration particularly in the field of voluntary principles, supported by a reflection on the role of the state and the mode of service delivery by the public sector. Many of these ideas have found a need for controlling the growth of the workforce or a reduction in volume, mainly due to a reduction of state functions (privatization, use of agencies in order to separate the design of public policy implementation, outsourcing, etc..). Overall, the territorial governments have been saved rather, when they have not seen their numbers grow. Meanwhile, deregulation in the central or federal public office was accompanied by a growth in contract employment in some countries.

To meet changing service needs of the population, the strategy of the State can rely on a redeployment within the public service. In many developed countries (Canada, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, for example), this redeployment is passed through a first phase (average of ten years) to significantly reduce the workforce, coupled with search for productivity gains. This phase is sometimes accompanied by an increase in intermediate consumption due to the phenomena of outsourcing. It was followed, in some cases by a period of re-employment to enhance certain features to strong externalities, without giving up a goal of improving public productivity.

  • Public employment in an internationally comparative perspective, a delicate task

Comparisons between public employment in developed countries are difficult to conduct . The heterogeneity of management methods, status, budget principles incentive to build a diagnosis by combining a multitude of criteria. This scoreboard of public employment has opted to focus the analysis on the concept of employment "funded" on public resources, whatever their legal status . The use of the government sector, such as the National Accounts measure, is the statistical concept that comes closest to the approach taken. It does however consider that employment directly paid by the government institutional sector. Other jobs, particularly in ambulatory care, in education or outsourced entities, are not always a direct government compensation but are ultimately funded or "solvabilisés" by the public. A gain in efficiency is generally expected of an outsourcing operation, and can not be equated directly employed the use of outsourced services. However, in an international comparative perspective, the failure to take account of these indirect jobs, that is to say the jobs private publicly funded, could distort the analysis . Even as Germany and France have a health system with many similarities to an institutional point of view, Germany initially appears as a country with very low level of employment in the sector Public Health. This discrepancy is resolved when one takes into account the originality of the financing channels of public medicine in Germany.

  • The approach

This scoreboard of public employment, is to inform on the level "relative" of directors of France compared to some countries of the European Union and OECD. To do this, it compares the levels of government in terms of staff and public expenditures to the total population and in relation to economic activity. Finally, it examines the level of administration in relation to the evolution of different functions (education, health, welfare, etc..). This work mobilizes mainly data from the OECD and Eurostat ten to fifteen years (1993-2008 usually). It leads to a first group on the basis of crossed-beam indicators.

The scope of the state in different countries is initially apprehended through several indicators: the rate of administration , that is to say, the public sector employment reported the total population or population target of public action, the rate of socialization , that is to say the weight of per capita expenditures administered and compared to the level of economic activity.

The number of public employees per 1 000 provides information on the extent of the administrative network in the country and gives an indication of the size of government in society. This indicator is broken down according to different functions (education, health, welfare, freedom, security and justice, defense) and, occasionally, by level of government (central, federal, local and social security). Significant changes in employment in public administration may emerge as a result of institutional changes. For example, the UK, some universities have been reclassified as private employers, which partly explains a significant reduction in public sector employment data from 1980 to 1990.

The sphere of state intervention can also be approached by analyzing the allocation of costs of the collective functions between public and private sector. We propose to measure especially in education and health by relating the weight of public expenditure and weight of private expenditure on the one hand, and the breakdown of public expenditure between transfers, operation, inputs, d On the other hand.

Ultimately, the Dashboard of public employment that highlights the issue of allocation of human resources within the administration - including issues of training and mobility - is at least as decisive as the level general labor to improve efficiency of public production.

  • The report: Amélie Barbier-Gauchard, Annick Guilloux and Marie-Francoise Le Guilly, performing missions, Economics and Financial Affairs Department, Centre d'analyse stratégique
  • Work coordinated by Olivier Passet, Head of Economics and Financial Affairs Department, Centre d'analyse stratégique

Press contact:

Jean-Michel Roullé, Head of Communications Tel. 01 42 75 61 37


Centre d’analyse stratégique