The Cayman Islands government and associated agencies still employ nearly 15 per cent of the overall local workforce, three years after a consultant’s report recommended that the number be significantly decreased.
Moreover, an analysis of available jobs data in Cayman shows that the government service was responsible for roughly 25 per cent of the jobs now held by Caymanian workers.
According to data provided to the Caymanian Compass, there are 5,700 people working in central government, statutory authorities and government-owned companies for the 2012/2013 fiscal year. The majority of those workers, exactly 3,606, are employed in the civil service, according to the figures.
With an estimated total workforce of nearly 39,000 people, that means government agencies comprise just less than 15 per cent of that number.
When the Miller-Shaw consultant report reviewed the situation in 2010, it found that about the same percentage, 15.5 per cent of the total workforce, had jobs in government.
The report compared Cayman to other international jurisdictions and found the ratio of public sector workers to be quite high.
“The data show that despite not having many of the responsibilities held by larger nations, such as assessing and collecting direct taxes, extensive welfare systems and national defence, the level of government employment is on a par with or exceeds that of many of [the other countries],” the Miller-Shaw analysis stated.
The report states that one implication from the data is that “government might be carrying out more functions than are necessary or a similar number of functions, but less efficiently.”
The Miller-Shaw commission recommended a number of specific actions to reduce the number of civil servants, including:
That there be an immediate cut of 8 to 10 per cent in the civil service wage bill, implemented on a scale system with higher grades taking a higher cut, and that there be a reduction in the number of civil servants back to the level government maintained in July 2003, to be achieved at a rate of 5 per cent each year;
The total number of public sector employees – stated as 6,037 at the time the Miller-Shaw report was released – had dropped to 5,700 by the 2012/2013 budget year; about a 5 per cent reduction overall in the space of three years.
The total workforce numbers contracted between 2009 and 2013 as well, making the percentage of the Cayman Islands’ employed population within the public sector appear to be about the same as it was at the time of the Miller-Shaw evaluation.
Recent human resources reports from the Cayman Islands government have generally shown that Caymanians make up between 72 and 75 per cent of the public sector workforce. The latest report, for the government’s 2011/12 budget year, has not been released.
Assuming a 72 per cent Caymanian participation in the public sector workforce would mean that about 4,100 of the 5,700 people employed by government agencies during 2012/13 were Caymanians.
According to the 2012 Labour Force Survey compiled by the government’s Economics and Statistics Office, 16,493 Caymanians were employed at the time the survey was taken.
That equates to just under 25 per cent of the Caymanians employed in the Cayman Islands being employed in either the civil service, or by public authorities and government-owned companies.