26 September 2023

IRELAND: PS facing retirement crisis

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Research by the Irish Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) has revealed that more than one-third of its members are set to retire in the next five to 10 years.

This prompted General Secretary of the AHCPS, Ciaran Rohan to describe the country’s Public Service as being “on the brink of a retirement cliff”.

The union’s research showed almost 40 per cent of those in the management position of Principal Officer are aged over 55.

In addition, 33 per cent of the Service’s 2,310 Assistant Principal Officers and 32 per cent of Higher Executive Officers are in the same age group.

By comparison, 80 per cent of workers in the lower grade of Administrative Officer are under 40, which means junior and middle managers have made up the bulk of recent recruits.

Mr Rohan said there were 1,226 Principal and Assistant Principal Officers out of a total of 3,500 staff in these grades eligible to depart in the next five years.

“There is a retirement cliff because of the number of senior people who can go in a short period of time,” Mr Rohan said.

“A generation that joined in the late 1970s and early 1980s is now nearing retirement.”

He said that, in the main, if they had the 40 years’ service needed to qualify for a full pension, workers tended to go at age 60.

“Some wait until they’re 65, but they are far fewer, and fewer again would stay on up to the new compulsory retirement age of 70,” Mr Rohan said.

The union leader said the brain drain would be greater than the large-scale retirements due to exit schemes on offer during the economic crisis.

“I think what’s coming up is more significant than that period … because the number that can go is even greater,” Mr Rohan said.

“The Civil Service is still playing catch-up after that.”

He said the numbers had not been replaced and now there would be a double whammy because of the number of retirements coming up.

“I’d like to think Departments are focusing on succession planning and replacing key skills they’ve lost, like senior tax specialists in Revenue or policy analysts in Taoiseach’s, Education, Environment, or Housing,” Mr Rohan said.

Dublin, 24 May 2018

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