Cayman’s public service workforce grew in 2016

The Cayman Islands public service employment rolls grew during the 2015/16 budget year, according to human resources reports released to the Legislative Assembly this week.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said a total of 54 departments across the civil service reported changes in staff “headcount” with an overall increase of about 3 percent for the entire public sector, including statutory authorities and government-owned companies.

Between 2015 and 2016, the total number of public sector employees grew by 152 workers, 132 of them Caymanians.

In most departments reporting staff increases, the numbers were small at “less than five employees,” the deputy governor said. The largest staff increases were reported at the Department of Education and the Ministry of District Administration.

The Cayman Islands overall public sector workforce is now nearly 75 percent Caymanian, Mr. Manderson said.

Based on data contained in annual human resources reports, the public sector staff went from about 72.5 percent Caymanian to 75 percent Caymanian in the period between 2012 and 2016.

Mr. Manderson said the central civil service, which employs about 3,600 people, had 74.3 percent Caymanian staff and the outside authorities and government-owned companies employed 75.4 percent Caymanian workers.

The 2015/16 budget marked the first time in a number of years in which 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 increased by 116 employees in 2016 compared to 2015, pushing the total staff to 3,600.

Job numbers for the central government do not represent the full picture of Cayman Islands public sector employment. The 5,961 public service employees counted as of June 2016 included the related statutory authorities and government-owned companies.

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 last year, giving civil service management more direct control over the activities of those agencies.

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.