Despite proclamations of “bare bones” budgets and “austerity measures” from the Cayman Islands government, the public sector actually increased its total number of jobs between 2010 and 2012.
Moreover, an examination of the past decade has revealed the entire public sector – civil service, statutory authorities and government-owned companies – has increased its number of employees by nearly 50 per cent.
The employment figures were revealed this week in a human resources report compiled by the government’s Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs. The latest report looks at the government’s 2011/12 financial year – more than a year ago now.
According to the report, the entire public sector employed 5,901 people as of 30 June, 2012. That includes 3,639 people working in what is generally termed the “core government” service and 2,262 working for statutory authorities and government-owned companies.
Compared to 30 June, 2011, that’s an increase of 91 employees. In mid-2011, there were 5,810 people employed within the entire public sector; 3,619 in the civil service/core government and 2,191 for the authorities and companies.
“Seventy-eight per cent of the [91 employee] increase [came] from the statutory authorities and government-owned companies, and 22 per cent [came] from core government,” according to the human resources report for 2012.
This theme of keeping the civil service/central government in check while at the same time seeing massive growth within the other public sector entities has been repeated steadily over the past decade, the HR report shows.
In January 2001, the civil service consisted of 4,034 employees. At that point, the government decided to split off the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority from its central government operations – dropping the “central” service to 3,097 workers.
Compared to 30 June, 2012, the central government service has increased 17.5 per cent from 2001. However, the non-central government entities employed 2,262 by 30 June, 2012; significant growth over the 937 workers initially spun off from the central government service.
That’s a 141 per cent increase in staff since 2001.
“The civil service changed in nature with the creation of additional statutory authorities, including the National Roads and Airports Authorities in 2004 and the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands in 2005,” the HR report noted. “Between 2003 and 2008, the service grew in size by over 700 employees.”
Since the 2008/09 government budget year, employment numbers have fluctuated within the civil service and other government entities. Since October 2008, the central government service began seeing an employment decline from its height of more than 3,800 workers.
“In the past five years, the size of the civil service has steadily decreased each year through the natural attrition, apart from the financial year ending in 2012, which saw a nominal increase of 20 employees,” the human resources report stated.
The overall size of the public sector, which stood at 4,034 employees in 2001, rose to 5,901 workers as of 30 June, 2012 – a 46 per cent rise over the past decade.
Caymanians have made up roughly three-quarters of the entire public sector staff over the past few years.
Within the central government service, as of 30 June, 2012, 73 per cent of the employees were Caymanian and 27 per cent were non-Caymanian. In the statutory authorities and government-owned companies, Caymanians made up 76 per cent of the staff and non-Caymanians 24 per cent.
Overall, 4,360 Caymanians were employed within the public sector during 2012.
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 more than 26 per cent of the working Caymanian population in the country being employed by the public sector.