Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Hays research shows low morale in public sector workers

Hays, a top recruitment specialist, has revealed research showing that disillusioned public sector workers appear to have hit a new morale low going into 2012. The research showed that over

half (52%) of job seekers said they would be prepared to sacrifice their pension for a career in the private sector, and nearly two thirds of workers considering the public sector a worse place to work following the recession.

The preliminary findings of the Hays Career Outlook Survey (undertaken in Nov/Dec 2011) show that although those working in the public sector are fiercely defensive of their pensions, the pull of the private sector and its perceived higher job security is attractive to job seekers.

Other early findings from the research show over three-quarters (84%) of public sector employers are concerned that they will struggle to keep skilled workers, and almost half (46%) say they will be unable to attract the skilled people needed for the twelve months ahead. 80% believe this will have an impact on the delivery of public services.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of public sector workers said the public sector is a worse place to work compared to before the recession, compared to only 40% in the private sector. Over three-quarters (76%) of public sector employers believe the sector is more stressful now than it was a year ago.

Andy Robling, Public Services Director at Hays, said: "These results indicate the potential dangers ahead for the public sector if something is not done to address poor morale and the perceptions some workers have about what the two sectors offer in terms of career progression and job security.

"The news that over half of workers in the public sector, who often choose work there to make a positive difference to society, would consider trading in their pension for a career in the private sector underlines how keen they are to move. Whilst conditions in the private sector are challenging too it is clearly one step ahead of the public sector in terms of attracting and motivating talent."

Heading into the New Year, both sectors report difficult working conditions, with employers describing morale as ‘pressured’ (45% of public sector employers, 46% in the private), and results from the survey show that their employees agree. Public sector employers lay the blame for this at the government’s door, while their private sector counterparts blame the global economy. Early data indicates a lack of career progression in both sectors is also causing a problem for staff.

Robling concluded: “In order to be in a position to tackle these important challenges in 2012, it’s vital that employers in both sectors take action now."

Although as one public sector worker who recently left a job in the private sector for the public sector said to That's Business: "If my colleagues at my public sector  workplace really want to find out about low pay, rock-bottom morale, being really poorly treated and abused in the workplace, all they have to do is to leave the public sector and go to work in private industry. Coming to my present public sector job was like dying and going to heaven.The grass is not always greener on the other side."

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