Not Enough Jobs for All the Public Administration Graduates
The public administration study of OSKA, the system of forecasting future needs for labour and skills, analysed the need for labour force and skills in state agencies, local governments, organisations of entrepreneurs and employers, occupational organisations and trade unions until 2027, and submitted proposals to the education system.
OSKA studies are conducted by the Estonian Qualifications Authority and funded by the European Social Fund. Over 132,000 people are employed in public sector, 25,000 of them were analysed in the study. The study focused on ministries and state agencies, municipality and city governments, associations of local governments, foundations belonging to the state or local governments, and partner organisations of public administration – non-profit organisations, associations, funds and foundations.
The study forecasts that by 2027, the number of employees in public administration, including providers of support services and positions responsible for construction and land consolidation, will decrease by 1000. There will be more public administration jobs in social affairs and employment policy, and for specialists of health care development and IT and data protection. Considering the number of available positions, about 70 graduates of public administration will be needed each year in the future, but 120 students a year graduate public administration programmes. Thus, there might be not enough jobs for all the public administration graduates. The employers generally found that a degree in public administration need not give advantages in recruitment in comparison with other candidates, and in particular the local governments prefer candidates with specialised education, for example, in social work or environment. Purely public administration education is needed in jobs that require the so-called skill of seeing the big picture. The employers see public administration knowledge and skills as an added value to other specialised knowledge. Thus, a public sector employee needs knowledge of policy shaping processes, government structure and its general functioning mechanisms, public administration ethics and corruption prevention in addition to expertise in their area of work. There is an increasing need for skills and knowledge in service design, the European Union, law, cybersecurity and data analysis. The importance of project management skills – drafting of budget, time and self-management, administration and resource management – increases. Cooperation and communication skills, like negotiating skills, skill to reach compromises, manage conflicts and involve partners, are becoming more and more important.
In a special study on the impacts of COVID-19, it turned out that during the crisis, the employment had actually slightly increased. Teleworking has gained prominence among the work formats. The possibility of working from home will most probably be also used in the future, therefore the need for technical digital skills increased abruptly, and general skills, like self-management, time management and project management, became essential. The crisis may give an impetus for faster optimisation of the public administration activities, but on the other hand, also preserving the number of the employees in the social sector, health care and security, so that the readiness for crisis would be ensured in the future.