The Federal Employment Agency is getting bigger and bigger: in the past few years, its staff has grown, although unemployment has been falling for years. Critics complain about a bloated administration. The BA itself blames politics.

The number of employees at the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has risen to 113,000 in recent years (as of December 2022), although unemployment has halved since 2005. Compared to 94,000 employees in 2005, the increase was a good 20 percent, it said. The “Welt am Sonntag” (WamS) had previously reported on it.

The paper writes that even if part-time employment at the BA is taken into account, the picture is confirmed: converted into full-time positions, the BA currently has 100,684 jobs, in 2005 there were 84,517. The increase is around 19 percent.

The employment agency has become the largest federal authority with its number of employees, writes the “WamS”. In addition, the BA is one of the largest employers nationwide. For comparison: Most of the large DAX companies have reduced their employees in Germany in the past decade.

What is different about the Federal Agency compared to the large profit-oriented companies? “The constant new legislative requirements are pushing the BA to its breaking point. The employees are receiving more and more tasks from an ambitious Federal Ministry of Labour,” said Christina Ramb, Chair of the Board of Directors, to the newspaper.

The implementation of new laws, from basic income to the education period to the immigration of skilled workers, including IT requirements and changed instructions tie up a lot of staff, she explained. In addition, the advice and support for the unemployed and employees is now on average more complex than at the time of mass unemployment.

In addition to the reasons mentioned, the Corona crisis also led to a high need for personnel at the BA. In 2020 alone, up to six million people were on short-time work, and the BA hired 3,700 new employees for support. According to the report, the BA wants to keep it as a “personnel reserve”, because around a quarter of the employees are older than 55 years. This means that many of them will retire in the coming decade.

The BA lists the most important of its tasks on its website. This includes:

Union faction vice Carsten Linnemann criticized the job creation at the BA. “It is unacceptable that the federal agency needs more employees despite the sharp drop in unemployment and the potential for increasing efficiency through digitization,” he told the “Welt am Sonntag”.

The Left Party social politician Jessica Tatti, on the other hand, considers the increase in staff to be appropriate: “Compared to 2005, the employment agencies today have significantly more advisory tasks, for example preventive further training advice for employees.”