Leaders selection and career management

The objective is to make central government a competitive employer with attractive managerial positions, good development opportunities and competitive terms of employment as a whole. In the competition for managers and other workforce, the strengths of central government are the societally important positions, the strong value basis of its operation and a community spirit.

Professional selection criteria and selection methods, systematic development and flexible career opportunities ensure that managers can be attracted to the different positions from both within and outside central government. In addition to the set eligibility requirements, the manager’s development capacity and availability for other central government positions later on are taken into account in the selection criteria. 

Towards a professional selection process 

How managers are selected and how managers select personnel for central government is crucial to the functioning and the service capacity of central government. The importance of the successful selection of each manager is emphasised as resources in the administration are scarce and the selection decisions have longterm impacts. The Ministry of Finance aims to develop the selection of senior managers together with the ministries and the agencies. 

 A professional recruitment process includes the following tasks in three stages: 

  1. Preparation stage
    Determining the actor, need and resource - Task analysis - Job description and application criteria - Advertising 
  2. Evaluation stage
    Processing and classification of applications - Preliminary interviews - Actual interview - Review of back-ground and history - Assessment of the person (possible in-depth interview) 
  3. Compilation stage
    Compilation of information and preparation of the decision - Selection proposal - Selection decision - Notification of applicants and evaluation of the process 

Common selection criteria

A master’s degree and practical evidence of management skills are required for all managerial positions in central government. A broad evaluation of the individual’s performance and abilities in actual management tasks or in the management of a demanding project must carried out in the selection situation. When the appointment is considered, it is assessed how the different areas of management skills are emphasised in the tasks of the future manager. These areas also include familiarity with the management of EU affairs and the capacity and willingness for continuous personal development. 

Under the Civil Servants Act, the management skills of the most senior civil servants must be demonstrated in the following areas: 

  • achieving results and coordinating the organisation
  • leadership and building of work communities
  • improving the efficiency and quality of processes and monitoring the activities
  • participation in the operating environment and managing changes 

In addition to management skills, the diverse experience required for the position is necessary. In addition, all of the most senior civil servants are required to have practical management experience. 

It is important to use the same management skills requirements where applicable when the requirements for managers other than the most senior civil servants are defined. The management skills requirements are specified and given different emphases in different operating environments and at different organisational levels. From the career point of view, it is a question of long-term systematic acquisition of the required competence. 

Orientation of new supervisors and managers 

The aim is to develop senior public officials who are leadership professionals selected to their positions as a result of professional recruitment, cross-administrative mobility and systematic development. Becoming a manager requires a will to assume responsibility as part of the central government and determination to develop oneself in different positions in the different areas of public administration. People selected to managerial positions in central government mainly come from other demanding positions in the ministries and government agencies, but increasingly also from other employers.

The initial attitude affects the outcome. The beginning of a new position or career affects the individual’s development and performance in many ways. Orientation means both familiarisation with the task, the work community and the organisation and, more widely, with administration and the networks. The importance of orientation is emphasised when the individual moves from an expert position to a managerial position or if the individual has been employed by other employers before starting to work for the central government. 

The Ministry of Finance and the HAUS Finnish Institute of Public Management Ltd jointly provide an orientation day to all new managers and supervisors in central government. In addition, the Government Administration Department organises a common orientation programme (Valtioneuvostopassi) for all civil servants concluding a service relationship with ministries, including managers and supervisors. The purpose of the common orientation is to complement the orientation activities of the ministries and the agencies.

First and foremost, each manager holds responsibility for their own development as a manager. Career management takes into account that different tasks now require more versatile competence than before. Career planning should be seen as generation of capacities for more demanding positions or positions with different professional requirements, not as a pathway that has been deter-mined in advance. The guiding principle is that evidence of both results and development as a manager in general is required for progressing in a career as a manager.

Managers Let’s encourage women to rise to the top! 

Contact information

Ari Holopainen 
Senior Ministerial Adviser, Financial Affairs 
tel. +358 295 530 520 
[email protected]

Miska Lautiainen
Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs
Tel. +358 295 530 212
[email protected]