The public sector needs to adapt to secure top talent says Hays

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Public sector employers need to adapt if they are to continue to secure the right skills to drive their organisations forward, according to a new report from Hays Public Services, the leading recruiting expert.

Public sector employers need to adapt if they are to continue to secure the right skills to drive their organisations forward, according to a new report from Hays Public Services, the leading recruiting expert. The report, ‘The changing face of the public sector – how employers need to adapt’, is based on a survey of over 1,000 public sector employees and employers which examines how financial and policy pressures have changed the way the sector recruits and motivates it staff.

The report found that two thirds of public sector employees believe redundancies and increased scrutiny have stripped the public sector of some of its best people and three quarters said that more needed to be done to attract talent. Against this backdrop, Hays Public Services outlined key actions that public sector employers need to take to adapt to the changing environment.

Andy Robling, Public Services Director at Hays, says, “Two years ago the Comprehensive Spending Review marked the beginning of a profound change in the way public sector services are staffed and managed. Now the public sector is at a crossroads and leaders need to understand what will attract top talent to work in the public sector. What might discourage them and how to develop and motivate them once they are in post? We propose a number of action points to organisations and employers to navigate these difficult questions and position the public sector as an employer of choice.”

Hays’ key actions that the public sector should take to adapt to the changing environment to secure top talent:

1.    Revaluate skills regularly – replacing people who leave on a like-for-like basis might not always offer the skills you need in the new environment. Consider each role individually and pay particular attention to the skill set needed and the type of person who will be successful in the role.
2.    Focus on non-financial benefits – employers need to play to their non financial benefits when looking to attract new staff. As it becomes tougher to market public sector jobs on the basis of pay, benefits and job security, public sector organisations should stress their values and build their recruitment strategy around the intrinsic rewards of public service. Flexible working is an attractive benefit and should be highlighted to prospective employees.
3.    Strengthen the organisation’s reputation - the term ‘brand’ still sits uncomfortably in the public sector, but an organisation’s reputation and the values and achievements that are associated with it are crucial to attracting the best staff. Intelligent investment in promoting the organisation more than repays itself if it means getting the right staff in post.
4.    Develop digital recruitment strategies - using digital channels to build a relationship with potential staff offers a cost-effective way of building your reputation, conveying the benefits of your organisation and attracting talent. This includes using bespoke social media campaigns and creative messaging to promote both the organisation in general and specific roles.
5.    Invest in staff development - developing staff remains crucial for the organisation and the individual. With material benefits being squeezed and job security being eroded, it is more important than ever that staff feel their skills and opportunities are growing. Be clear about how they can develop their careers within the organisation, put the necessary processes in place to monitor and evaluate their success.
6.    Work with the private sector - many parts of the public sector still need to face up to the likelihood of greater private sector involvement, understand what that will mean in terms of how their role, organisation and operation will change, and ensure they have the right skills and experience to make its relationship with the private sector work. If this is not done, it is inviting a serious risk of service failure.
7.    Provide leadership - the importance of first-rate leadership cannot be overstated. Leaders who engage staff, respect them, listen to them and give them autonomy to make decisions and carry responsibility will secure rich rewards in terms of their organisation’s performance, resilience, motivation and ability to adapt.
About The changing face of the public sector – how employers need to adapt
The survey was carried out during July and August 2012 among public sector staff across the UK. This included local and central government, the NHS and social housing, as well as managers working for private sector firms servicing the sector. A total of 1,102 people responded to some or all of the questions. Of these, 561 were responsible for recruiting staff. Almost a third of the total worked in organisations larger than 1,000 staff.

To access the report visit

About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2012 the Group employed 7,800 staff operating from 245 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2012:

– the Group reported net fees of £734 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £128 million;
– the Group placed around 55,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 182,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 33% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 36% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 31% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 56% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 44% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

For further press information please contact:
Deepa Bose
T. 020 7259 8821
E. deepa(dot)bose(at)hays(dot)com

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