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More than 80% of public sector organisations believe skills shortages in their organisation would be best filled by private sector workers, according to a new survey from leading recruitment company Hays. Employers based across public services divisions including education, central and local government, housing, the NHS, charities and not-for-profit stressed concern about lack of commercial talent, while 47% of respondents said there are widespread skill shortages generally and this needs to be addressed in order for quality services to be delivered.

Concerns expressed by respondents identified shortages in management skills (54%) and identified that the most valuable attributes a private sector candidate can bring to the public sector is commercial expertise (61%) and creativity (17%). Other attributes include a different drive and ethic.

The time to move to the public sector may be now, with 63% of employers confirming they have noticed an upturn in applications. Significantly 86% believe this increase is beneficial with job candidates bringing a diverse range of skills experience and willingness to adapt to new methods.

Andy Robling, Director at Hays Public Services, said The recession has forced people to re-evaluate their perception of a job in the public sector and they have come to realise that it offers comparable pay, generous benefits and a challenging, yet rewarding, environment. At the same time, many public sector organisations are undergoing a period of change and commercial expertise is highly valued to manage this process and drive efficiencies. Employers need to make sure they are tapping into this pool of talent jobseekers with a commercial background have never been more available or more willing to make the move.

Although almost two-fifths of public sector employers are adamant that the recession has enabled access to a pool of talent that may otherwise not have been on offer, there is also the concern that once the economy picks up many of the new workers will leave and go back to previous private sector employment, once again leaving a dearth of skills.

However, of greater concern to employers is their recruitment costs, with almost a fifth claiming that this was currently their biggest staffing challenge an increase of 8% compared to before the recession, which perhaps isnt surprising in the current climate. All costs in an organisation are being scrutinised closely, and recruitment isnt an exception. We are looking at innovative ways to partner with our clients to deliver maximum cost efficiencies and help them to find quality candidates, at a time when they are being inundated with CVs concludes Robling.


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