Women make up the majority of those employed in the civil service but are underrepresented
at the most senior grades, where key policy and operational decisions
are taken. Action 8 of the Civil Service Renewal Plan commits to improving gender
balance at each level, including senior grades. The present study was
commissioned by a high-level steering group set up to oversee implementation of
this action. It draws on a combination of administrative data, reanalysis of the Civil
Service Employee Engagement Survey conducted in 2015, and in-depth work
history interviews with 50 senior civil servants across four departments. In
addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with staff involved in recruitment
and promotion within the public service. This rich combination of data yields new
insights into the processes shaping gender differences in representation at the
most senior grades of the civil service and thus provides a strong evidence base to
inform future policy and practice.
The ESRI works towards a national vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’. This means producing high-quality analysis to provide robust evidence for policymaking, with the goals of research excellence and policy impact.
The ESRI produces research that contributes to understanding economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland.