More than five million work in the public sector
Following significant job growth in the public sector, the number of federal, state and local government employees has exceeded the five million mark. Around 5.096 million employees worked there in 2021, according to the "Monitor öffentlicher Dienst" (Public Service Monitor) published by the civil service association dbb on Thursday. In 2020, only just under 4.97 million people were employed by the federal, state and local governments.
dbb head Ulrich Silberbach referred to the growing tasks in many areas of the public service. Despite the increase in jobs, the limits of performance have been reached in many areas, Silberbach told the German Press Agency.
Among the political decisions that have recently led to more work in the public sector or will do so in the coming years are the property tax reform, the switch to a citizen's allowance, the expansion of the group of people entitled to housing benefits, and the gradual introduction of the right to all-day care in elementary schools.
In 2019, there were around 4.88 million public sector employees and 4.80 million the year before. The figures are based on data from the Federal Statistical Office; they also include employees in social security funds. According to the latest figures, around 58 percent of public sector employees are women. More than 37 percent of employees are civil servants, and just under 63 percent are pay-scale employees. Sixty-six percent work full-time and 34 percent part-time.
According to Silberbach's assessment, there is still a shortage of more than 360,000 employees nationwide to adequately carry out the tasks of general interest. Whether in the expansion of day care centers, in rescue services, the health sector, for approval procedures in economic transformation or in other fields - according to the dbb, there is a lack of specialists in the public sector everywhere. The chairman of the dbb civil servants' association and tariff union called for an about-face in personnel and financial policy for more staff for municipalities, states and the federal government.
The conditions for public sector employees will also be in focus at the beginning of the new year, when collective bargaining for the municipalities and the federal government begins. The Verdi and dbb unions are demanding 10.5 percent more income, or at least 500 euros more per month. Negotiations will begin in Potsdam on January 24.
The 64th annual dbb conference will take place on January 9 and 10. At the congress in Cologne, the dbb wants to address how the Russian war against Ukraine, climate change, the energy crisis, the shortage of skilled workers and other crisis-related developments are increasing the pressure on state institutions.
From the point of view of many employees in the public sector, it is absurd that, on the one hand, bureaucracy reduction has been announced for years, but at the same time more state tasks are being created. The expected relief through digitization has also been an empty promise so far. The digitalization of the administration "simply does not get off the starting blocks," criticized the head of the dbb in a statement on Thursday. The reason for this does not lie with the public sector employees, "but with the political chaos of competencies. This chaos ensures that Germany continues to be an "offline republic.