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Public sector culture drives talent away


Mounting bureaucracy and red tape is putting new recruits off from joining the public sector.

This is the claim from recruitment and HR consultants, Hudson who reveal that 66% of public sector employees believe their own internal procedures are turning applicants away.

Over a third (40%) agreed that that there is an oppressive culture of measuring and benchmarking in the public sector, and the same number (69%) admitted league tables and performance targets are a drain on public sector departments.

According to the researchers, this culture is stifling creativity and freedom of expression.

Only a quarter of public sector employees said they feel happy putting their point across while only one in two (48%) feel free to criticise or disagree with their employer or colleagues.

Many public sector employees believe a preoccupation with performance targets and benchmarking is changing the types of roles available in the public sector and demanding a different skill set from candidates.

Nearly two thirds (65%) expect delivery and quality assurance will become the key measures of success in the future, and a third (31%) believe managerial and clerical jobs are likely to rise. As a result, the skill most prized by prospective public sector employees is the ability to deliver against short-term targets, coming ahead of flexibility, IT literacy and business acumen.

Lynne Macgill, Director at Hudson commented: “It’s no secret that bureaucracy is rife within the public sector. However, the fact that this may be deterring new recruits from entering the sector is cause for concern. To attract new recruits and retain those already working in the profession, public sector employers will need to follow some of their private sector counterparts, adopt more flexible working practices and consider alternative measures and rewards systems, as opposed to the wider performance targets and benchmarking stifling the sector.”

Other key findings:

  • 32% feel no loyalty towards their employer

  • 83% expect to move on

  • 62% favour becoming ‘serial careerists’

  • 72% would like to be respected and rewarded for their talent

  • 44% would take a sabbatical over a cash bonus

  • 67% say ethics and values play a part when choosing an employer

  • 52% believe quality of life is more important than careers

  • 80% claim they live to work rather than work to live

More than 2,500 employees from organisations across the UK were surveyed.


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