Interviewee: Ms. Ida Krarup
Job title & employer: Senior
Adviser, The State Employer’s Authority, Ministry of Finance, Denmark
Job description: Coordination of the State Employer’s Authority’s European and international cooperation (EUPAN, CEEP etc.); Projects on Public sector ethics; Social dialogue at national and European level.
No. of years of service: A few
Career path: Graduating in law 1993; The Danish Association of Managers and Executives (1993-1994); The Lord Mayor’s Office, City of Copenhagen (1994-2001); The State Employer’s Authority, Ministry of Finance (2001-)
What is great about the Danish civil servant?
The state sector labour market in Denmark is characterized by offering a broad range of job and career
opportunities, flexible work organisations and salary systems, delegation of responsibilities and little bureaucracy.
As state sector employee you have many opportunities to influence your own work situation, to enhance your skills and
to take active part in projects and tasks with the aim to develop new tools and to ensure the quality of the state
sector. Surveys have shown that state sector employees are highly motivated and that the most important driver behind
their motivation is the job content, i.e. the significance of the job, tasks and contacts.
Why did YOU become a civil servant?
I worked in the secretariat for the City Council of Copenhagen during my law studies. This gave me a valuable insight in the variety and importance of public sector tasks. I find the challenges and opportunities of working close to the political decision making process attractive, and – except for a short period of working in the private sector (employee organisation) - this has characterized my career so far.
What kind of skills and knowledge are required from a central administration official in the recruitment situation? Do they differ from the private sector?
The Danish system – both in the public and in the private sector - is primarily based on a policy of “open recruitment”, i.e. recruiting according to a specific evaluation of professional and personal experience. This means that there are rather few rules stipulating specific conditions of education, diplomas, experiences etc. The employment authority has to a large extent a free choice. Interviews as method of selection are most common, whereas recruitment on the basis of competitive examination is used only in very few connections. Employment in the Danish state sector is, as a rule, based on public notice of a vacant position. This is to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to apply for the job. Positions are filled by the best qualified among the applicants. Applicants who already are employed in central government have no preferential right to vacant positions.
What are the key challenges within your personnel administration at the moment?
Currently, the State Employer’s Authority is preparing the collective bargaining in the beginning of 2008. Government initiatives as well as a lively public debate in 2007 on public sector tasks and public employees’ conditions are foreseen to strongly influence the upcoming bargaining period.
Welfare initiatives as well as challenges of recruitment and retention of a sufficient public sector workforce are also issues high on the agenda.
When thinking about the recruitment process, what do the future key challenges look like?
Results from a “Motivation Survey” conducted in 2006 show that young persons under education have wishes for their working life that to a large extent matches the conditions the state sector offers; interesting job content, possibilities for competence development, good working environment, flexible working conditions etc. However, with view to the demographic development and a foreseen limited workforce it is a challenge for state sector workplaces to make the possibilities of state sector employment well known for the young persons under education. Job fairs, internet based job-portal, the State Employers Authority’s recruitment guide and advertising in education institutions are examples of means used to meet the future challenges of recruitment.