Government Competitive Hiring Processes in Brazil: FGV EBAPE’s Deputy Academic Director discusses opportunities and challenges

The unified national competitive hiring process for government positions (CPNU) will be rescheduled due to the climate disaster in the South of Brazil.

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The Brazilian Federal Government postponed the tests for the unified national competitive hiring process (CPNU), initially scheduled for May 5th.

Due to the unprecedented floods in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the approximately 2.14 million applicants registered to participate in the government’s hiring process for one of the 6,640 vacancies in 21 public agencies – considered the largest competitive hiring process of all time – are awaiting the announcement of a new date. Meanwhile, rescues and reconstruction efforts continue in the affected cities in southern Brazil.

According to Professor Alketa Peci, Deputy Academic Director and professor at FGV EBAPE, the new hiring process involves applying tests in 220 cities across all regions of the country. This is a positive change, as the process will take place in locations closer to the applicants, reducing barriers that hinder participation.

Applicants face travel costs, for example, and many are sometimes unable to overcome this barrier,” she says. “By not being restricted to Brasília and applying the tests in other regions of the country, the process offers diverse perspectives and is more sensitive to local needs”, explains Professor Peci.

However, Peci points out that candidates with better socioeconomic conditions will likely continue to have an advantage. “I believe that this contest will maintain the same standard. Brazil is an extremely unequal country, and I doubt that merely regionalizing the exams will change the sociodemographic composition of those who pass the competitive hiring process.”

Professor Peci also highlights that, although the decentralization of the exam application is the most discussed aspect of the unified national competitive hiring process, the main novelty is opening up the discussion about making the public service “less rigid.”

“There is a problem we face today in the public sector: a lack of mobility between different careers and positions. People are hired for specific positions and agencies and remain there for the rest of their professional lives. Today, our legal framework does not allow us to readjust the workforce according to new demands,” she explains. “It is natural that some positions become obsolete while the demand for others increases.”

“The competitive hiring process will not solve this problem, but I believe that other measures can be devised to address it. More changes will be necessary to allow greater workforce flexibility and mobility, but this hiring process opens a window of opportunity to move in this direction, as it addresses broad strategic areas.”

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