Nearly 6,000 people worked in the Cayman Islands public sector during 2016, according to figures produced by the government.

The 5,961 public service employees counted as of June 2016, as well as the related statutory authorities and government-owned companies, represent about a 3 percent increase in government staff from 2015

From year to year, the total number of public sector employees grew by 152 workers, 132 of them Caymanians.

Overall, the public sector employment was about 75 percent Caymanian and 25 percent non-Caymanian during both 2015 and 2016.

For the first time in a number of years, the growth in the central civil service outpaced employee growth in the outside authorities and companies, which are managed by independently appointed boards rather than directly under ministries or portfolios.

Central civil service hires went up by 116 employees, pushing the total staff to 3,600. Statutory authority and government companies hires went up by about 35, for a total of 2,361 during the year.

The outside authorities have been under significant pressure from the elected government to rein in their growth, resulting in the adoption of the Public Authorities Law earlier this year, giving civil service management more direct control over the activities of those agencies.

The staff increases at the outside authorities has been a recurring theme in Cayman, while the central government service has held the line or even reduced its numbers slightly.

In 2001, when the central government first split its operations into “central government” and outside authorities, divesting the Health Services Authority from the civil service, there were approximately 4,034 total government employees – 3,097 civil service workers and 937 employees at the lone government authority that existed at the time.

The central civil service grew to a peak of about 3,800 employees in 2008 and has declined since then, with some minor fluctuations, to 3,600 in June 2016.

By contrast, the number of statutory authority and government company workers grew from 937 in 2001, to 2,194 in 2010 as more authorities and companies were added, and then to 2,264 by mid-2012 and to 2,361 last year.

While the central civil service grew by about 16 percent over the past 15 years, the separate authorities and companies roughly tripled their staff complement from 2001 levels.

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