Portugal’s public sector balloons to unsustainable levels
In just six years of Portugal’s socialist PS government, the amount of people employed by the State has ballooned to a new all-time high.
According to Expresso’s ‘Economia’ the country has already recovered the numbers lost in the troika years (when international lenders were overseeing management of the country’s finances after a €79Bn bailout).
According to data published by DGAEP (the Directorate General of Public Employment and Administration), the second quarter of 2021 saw the number of civil servants balloon to a ridiculous 731,285 employees in a country which has a population of 10 million.
“With new hiring underway it is possible that with just 200 employees away from the previous record (achieved in the first year of governance under PS prime minister José Sócrates), a historic maximum will have been overtaken by the end of the year to set a new record.
To give an idea of just how huge the current total is, Expresso refers to earlier years where public sector employees numbered only 383,103 in 1979 (the population was higher then), 509,000 in 1991 and 702,000 in 1999.
Expresso says that admittedly, the world has moved on since then: progress may well demand an increase in the number of people employed by the State – but considering public sector reform was one of the mantras of the troika years, the concept seems to have been largely left by the wayside.
The highest increase in jobs can be seen in central administration (meaning government departments).
Since António Costa’s government seized power with an unlikely left-wing coalition at the end of 2015, Portugal now has an extra 72,182 public civil servants — more than recovering losses during the austerity years.
“Just in the last year, another 25,700 workers joined the public administration, translating into an increase in employment of 3.7%.”
However, most of the new jobs are on fixed-term contracts, meaning the staff may not have a job ‘secured for life’ (as public admin jobs have tended to be in the past).
The average monthly pay packet of a public sector employee has risen very little over the years and currently stands at €1,800.