• social security administration;
  • demographic aspect;
  • civil servant;
  • personnel;
  • OECD countries


Public-service employment grew rapidly through the 1970s and early 1980s in the high-income countries. During this period, the social protection sector was one of the areas that grew most extensively. Many of the public-service employees hired during these years have retired or are soon to do so. As a consequence, social security administrations across the OECD area are set to lose significant proportions of their current staff across all grades over a relatively short time-period. Despite calls for a greater use of strategic staff planning and a growing awareness of the challenges presented by an ageing public-service workforce, public-service organizations, including social security administrations, have been slow to react. This article addresses the human resource management challenges for social security administrations posed by an ageing public-sector workforce, outlines proposed policy responses and assesses the difficulties of successfully implementing these in a systematic manner.