Wednesday, 19 May 2010


The pompously-named Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ΑΣΕΠ) has just released its 2009 annual report, of which the statistical annex can be found here (Greek speakers only, I'm afraid).

This is important because ΑΣΕΠ is the centralised agency (and process) whereby every legitimate public sector employee is hired in Greece. Even some publicly quoted companies, including the Greek water utility, ΕΥΔΑΠ, are obliged to run some of their hires past the Council.

Predictably, the annual report's annex reads like Stalin's own book of Sudoku puzzles. It is also highly resistant to the simple question of "how many people did you hire, who for and in what occupations". Thankfully we have data on that from our trusty National Statistics Agency. Er.

Anyway, the ΑΣΕΠ annual report does reveal a number of FAILZ:

  • ΑΣΕΠ ran 3,324 selection processes in 2009, at an average of 11.8 vacancies per process, and 9.4 candidates per position.
  • In case you're too lazy to do the math, this means that 369,709 Greeks applied for public sector jobs in 2009. That's 7.4% of the entire Greek labour force, applying to the public sector in ONE YEAR.
  • 69% of all vacancies both announced and filled in 2009 were classed as "seasonal". There must be orange growers in California with a lower share of seasonal staff than our government. 
  • Of these, 69% (that number again) were hired on 8 month contracts. This rather defeats the person of calling anything seasonal - 8 months must surely qualify as "most of the year". 

This is not the end of the story. I was amazed to see that the statistical annex to the annual report begins with an org chart of the Council, as if anyone cares.

However, I do care as it happens because it looks like this. That's right, zoom in.

The amount of duplication is monumental. The Directorate-General that actually does the hiring is split up into three nearly identical Directorates that run application processes. Each comes with its own process control function, presumably because pinning up two process control flowcharts on one desk goes against years of struggles for the labour movement, during which people invariably died.

The simplest of these Directorates by the way is, you guessed it, the one that deals with the 69% of seasonal vacancies.

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