Public administration has traditionally been characterised with such bureaucratic features as hierarchical and formalised organisational structure, clear and rigid career paths, lifetime tenure, full-time employment, principle of seniority, advantageous pension schemes and rigid remuneration systems. These features were introduced in late 19th century to reduce the risk of excessive political influence, corruption, misconduct and instability of government. Today, however, numerous administrative and managerial reforms are affecting these longstanding aspects of public employment. Size and composition of workforce, its working and employment conditions, nature of work, and values and legal status are all undergoing a process of change. The various reforms are also gradually shrinking the size of central public administrations of the EU-27 Member States. They are becoming more decentralised and fragmented, more diversified, more aligned and less specific. The on-going financial crisis and the introduction of hasty austerity measures have a strong impact on the public workforce in most EU Member States. So far, restructuring programmes and effects of austerity measures have not been a subject of rigorous scrutiny. Similarly, the effects of public management reforms have not been studied either and have resulted in national administrations having no longer a single coherent framework. Filling this important gap, this comparative study attempts to assess the effects of these developments in public employment in the central public administrations of the EU Member States offering insight into the future of public employment.