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Croke Park, ireland

Croke Park Agreement heralds a more strategic future for public sector HR
The number of public servants that retired by the Feb 29 deadline to avail of the more advantageous pension and retirement arrangements has been confirmed to be about 7,500.
Much of the media reporting has focused on this as a once-off disturbance – missing the point that it is going to be an ongoing reality because of our increasingly aging workforce.
This is a phenomenon facing governments worldwide. For instance, the percentage of US Federal workers aged 55 or older increased from 15 to 25% in the period from 1998 to 2010 – and a full 60% is now aged 45 or older.
In Ireland, Dept. of Finance data indicate that the public service cohort over 50 years of age currently stands at 40%, up from 27% eight years ago – and, from just 10%, a quarter of a century ago.
This would suggest that over the next 15 years, under the normal course of events, average retirement levels from the Irish public service will be 8000/year– which is roughly in the same ballpark as the number exiting as part of the Feb 29 plan.
This implies that the level of attention managers are having to give to planning for the fall-out from the current exodus will become a regular part of their job.
Of necessity, a new emphasis on strategic HR and workforce planning will have to be instituted and resourced.
An early harbinger of what we can expect to become the norm right across the public service is contained in a recent announcement from Cork City Council – detailing the establishment of a newly constituted Directorate of Human Resources & Organisational Reform.
In terms of the wider public sector, this is a long overdue development – moving HR from being more an administrative, reactive function to now being very much a core proactive, strategic enabler.
What will this new HR agenda look like?
Well, at one level, it will place a keen focus on talent management. Some of the key practical considerations to be managed will include: 
-  establishing the size and structure of the organisation at different milestones into the future  (eg. 1 year, 3 year, 6 year), taking due account of any envisaged changes to the budget, mission, location, infrastructure, levels of automation & outsourcing, etc