April 2024


Public sector voted one of the most popular careers by young people

New research of 18 to 25 year-olds has revealed the public sector to be one of the most appealing industries to build a long-term career.

When asked to rank 10 of the most common industries to work in, young people placed the public sector in fourth place, ahead of industries like legal and tech.

The research of 1,000 18-25 year-olds, commissioned by leading change and transformation consultancy, Grayce, found positive perceptions of a career in the public sector. Almost half (47%) believe this career path would offer an attractive benefits package, while 43% agree it would pay well in line with their aspirations as graduate/entry-level talent.

In addition to competitive remuneration, young people also associate public sector careers with good work/life balance (45%) and flexibility (43%), factors that are increasingly being considered extremely important by emerging talent entering the workforce.

Yet, new data from LGA suggests a disconnect between the generally positive view of a career in the public sector and those going on to pursue it. Its figures reveal under 25s make up just 4.6% of the workforce, while more than 70% of local government employees are over the age of 40.

In addition, the latest Government Skills Survey found that public sector establishments were more likely to have skills gaps (21%) compared to private sector bodies and charity or voluntary sector establishments (15%).

Grayce’s research also highlighted concern around cuts the public sector has experienced, with 44% saying they would avoid pursuing a career in the public sector for this reason.

Amy Gornall, Public Sector Client Director at Grayce commented: “It’s positive to see that emerging talent hold positive views around public sector careers, and want to drive meaningful change through their work. This reflects the feedback we get from our growing consultant population in Public Sector at Grayce. However, the research also shows that the sector needs to change if we are to effectively convert this interest into fulfilling careers.

“One of the biggest gaps – but greatest opportunities for young people – is transformation. The public sector has long trailed behind other sectors in this area, and with just 4% of civil servants working in digital roles compared with an average of between 8-12% in other sectors, we have some catching up to do.

“This means that there’s a significant opportunity for public sector organisations to highlight the change and transformation opportunities available and the impact they can have in freeing up vital resources, improving services, and driving social value.

“To do this, organisations need access to work-ready talent with specialist digital skills – employees that can hit the ground running and deliver ROI from the get-go. The future of the public sector relies on their ability to transform and organisations need support to effectively engage, nurture and develop talent to offer long-term, fulfilling careers in the public sector.”

For more insights from the research and how public sector organisations can attract and benefit from this emerging talent, read Grayce’s latest blog here:

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