Court Filings

The challenges of transition: from public to private

Description
The challenges of transition: from public to private contents Foreword 1. Executive Summary 3 2. methodology 5 3. POLES APART: REALLY? 6 4. THE TRANSITION: SMOOTHING THE PATH 7 5. HOW BAD IS THE DISCONNECT?
Categories
Published
of 20
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
The challenges of transition: from public to private contents Foreword 1. Executive Summary 3 2. methodology 5 3. POLES APART: REALLY? 6 4. THE TRANSITION: SMOOTHING THE PATH 7 5. HOW BAD IS THE DISCONNECT? 8 6. FROM SILOS AND STRAITJACKETS TO CHALLENGE AND CHANGE: NOT SUCH A BIG ASK COMMERCIAL AWARENESS: A HIGHLY-VALUED COMMODITY SELF-PROMOTION: MARKETING TRANSFERABLE SKILLS TO PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYERS CONCLUSION 18 1 foreword Some 330,000 people are expected to lose their jobs in the public sector over the next four years with the government s austerity measures and its attempt to control the country s deficit. It is likely that a significant number of these workers will be looking for a new job in the private sector. This move from the public to the private arena will benefit both individuals and private sector companies. Firms stand to gain from fresh perspectives and extensive skills, whilst employees will have new opportunities to enhance their experience and expertise in a different working environment. However, although there may now be more similarities between the public and private sectors than differences, the perceptions that both sectors have of each other could potentially limit ex-public sector employees ability to quickly return to the labour market. Statistics show that the longer a person is unemployed, the more difficult the return to work will be. A quick transition is therefore essential in order to limit the social and economic costs associated with long-term unemployment. Yet, the enormity of this challenge will pose difficulties for those involved, especially during the first year (2011/12) when the biggest cuts are planned. Hays and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have co-produced this report to draw attention to the real challenges that public sector employees and private sector employers will face in the coming months. The aim is to stimulate discussion and to provide our own insight and expertise into that discussion. We consider how both sectors can best work together going forward and offer a number of timely recommendations that will benefit both employers and employees. Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Royston Hoggarth, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Hays 2 1. Executive summary The gulf between private and public sectors may be much narrower than it has been in the past. Yet, our research indicates that many public sector employees still see the private sector as a back-stabbing, dog-eat-dog world, where people are in it for the money. Meanwhile, many private sector workers regard their peers in the public sector as institutionalised, used to an easy life and in it for the benefits. Our research shows these prejudices disappear when people from each sector gain exposure to the opposite sector, in particular to the people who work there (or who have previously worked there). Ensuring that both the public and private sectors are able to identify transferable skills and helping public sector staff to improve their self-marketing and develop their business awareness will contribute to a successful transition of skills from the public to the private sector. LCCI and Hays have identified six critical steps to help smooth the transition of a substantial proportion of the workforce from the public to the private sector: 1. Identify regional skills gaps Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) should be encouraged to map existing public sector job losses available and skills in their region against anticipated private sector job requirements, prior to measures for widening access to job vacancies and addressing skill shortages. Trade associations and professional membership bodies should work with LEPs and the recruitment industry to co-ordinate cross-sector working groups, pooling their resources to ease the transition and ensuring that valuable skills are redeployed elsewhere in the economy. 2. Enhance existing support programmes Public sector employers should be more proactive in their support for workers facing the prospect of redundancy, with practical job-seeking and career planning programmes specifically designed to equip them for the private sector. Jobcentre Plus also has a key role to play, expanding current provision for career transition specifically for public sector workers who have been made redundant or who face redundancy and will be considering a move to the private sector. 3. Incentivise the private sector The government should subsidise recruitment and training costs for private sector employers who hire public sector employees. One option would be to adopt and adapt the Redundancy Action Scheme (ReAct) already in place in Wales, under which employers may qualify for a contribution towards salaries and training costs if they hire someone who has been made redundant. 3 4. Review on-boarding (induction) procedures Private sector employers, from blue chips to SMEs, should review their on-boarding (induction) programmes perhaps including coaching and mentoring in anticipation of recruiting people from the public sector. This will ensure that line managers and recruits take individual and collective ownership of making the transition successful. 5. Promote self-reliance and resourcefulness Public sector workers should be encouraged to work with recruitment consultancies who understand both the private and public sectors, and who can provide free advice on CVs, job applications and interviews. As the representative body for the UK recruitment industry, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) can capitalise on its cross-sector expertise to drive best practice in the way that recruitment consultants support individuals moving between sectors. Specific deliverables could include updated guidelines and toolkits circulated to the network of individual recruitment consultants within the REC s Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP). 6. Encourage better understanding The government should explore ways to fund or subsidise coaching, mentoring and peer-support schemes for public sector workers prior to, during and after transition to the private sector. These schemes would help public sector workers acclimatise and hit the ground running, reducing the likelihood of leaving during the initial critical settling-in periods. Employers, on the other hand, would be able to identify and recognise the skills available in the public sector, as well as the contribution they can make to the private sector. The costs of these schemes would be far outweighed by the welfare bills that might otherwise be incurred by the state. 4 2. Methodology The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Hays each undertook quantitative and qualitative research in the public and private sectors. The quantitative results represent the views (canvassed online) of 1,435 public-sector employees and 348 private sector employers, the majority of which are based in London and the South East. Amongst other things, employers were asked about: The differences they perceive between the two sectors The capacity of the private sector to absorb the likely influx of public sector candidates into the job market Their views on jobseekers perceptions of the differences in skills required between the two sectors Public sector employees were asked about: I think that the real challenge for the public sector is to know what skills they have got, and for the private sector to identify them in the right place. I am sure it is not unachievable but needs to be thought out quite deeply. Director, design company Their attitudes towards private sector employers and employees, and of working conditions in the private sector How they think the private sector perceives public sector workers Their perceptions of private sector recruitment and interviewing processes Job search techniques Concerns over transition to the private sector job market We also gathered the views of recruitment consultants who were asked about: Their views on the effectiveness of private and public sector recruitment strategies and procedures, covering vacancy lifecycles (the length of time from initial contact to appointment), interviews and other assessment techniques Challenges for public sector employees looking for work in the private sector Assumptions that workers in each sector harbour about each other s typical pay and reward frameworks, working conditions, culture and promotion prospects The qualitative data was collected in a series of three focus groups with private sector employers, representing 18 employers of different sizes and industries, followed by 12 semi-structured interviews with business leaders. Public sector employees considering leaving for the private sector, and expublic sector employees already working in private sector companies, were also interviewed. These interviews helped to substantiate the information gathered in the focus groups and further understand the assertions, made in the survey responses, about identifying and making the most of transferable skills. 5 3. Poles apart: really? Conventional wisdom has it that the public and private sectors and the people they employ operate at the extremes of a cultural and operational spectrum. Public sector workers are often unfairly castigated as workshy, overly concerned with process and lacking in any business savvy. Their detractors often paint a picture of taxpayer-funded entitlement, with lucrative pension schemes, generous holiday allowances and levels of sickness and absenteeism that would not be tolerated in the private sector. However, misconceptions cut both ways. Those whose careers have been spent primarily in the public sector often assume that working for a private sector employer is all about long hours and profit at any cost, with career advancement as dependent on knowing the right people as much as merit. Yet these perceptions do not necessarily reflect reality. Culturally, the public and private sectors have never been closer, even if differences remain. Major changes in public sector management have been brought about over the last 25 years by factors such as the pursuit of best value. HR strategies more typically associated with the private sector such as those aimed at promoting efficiency or encouraging staff loyalty have been widely adopted. Measures have been introduced that link individual performance with strategic objectives, and pay with individual performance. The privatisation of many public sector services has also encouraged a more enterprising culture, one in which staff are often required to exhibit greater flexibility and adaptability, and to take ownership of their own professional development. However, cultural changes have been inconsistent; in some public sector organisations, enlightenment and inflexibility co-exist in equal measure. Yet these changes, while bringing about many benefits, have not been wholly successful, for a number of reasons: Complex goals: difficulty in measuring how closely objectives have been met when profit and shareholder value are not the primary focus Lack of empowerment: mixed messages perceived by public sector managers, tasked with achieving specific results without the required authority or resources Target culture: centrally planned performance indicators which appear to increase bureaucracy and impede decision making and which may be neither endorsed nor understood by workers Differences between public and private sector workers exist primarily in their exposure to wider economic or commercial factors and the degree to which their work may be subjected to public, political and media scrutiny. Pay also colours opinion: bonuses linked to profits are readily understood, whereas public sector performance pay, where it exists, is often regarded as rewarding people for simply doing their job, especially if the immediate benefits of their employer s activity are unclear to outsiders making that judgment. If these factors, which influence outlook and mindset, are misrepresentative, it means that those who ultimately leave the public sector may be better equipped for the transition than they think. OPTIONS FOR ACTION Walk the walk: the gulf between perception and reality might be addressed by closer links between the public and private sector; both might welcome cross-party working groups aimed at promoting mutual understanding and preparing public sector workers for life in the private sector. 6 4. THE TRANSITION: SMOOTHING THE PATH The government expects the private sector to counterbalance the drop in public sector employment over the next four or five years, especially in the coming year when the effect of the cuts will be most severely felt. But while the private sector is growing again, it is by no means certain whether this growth will be sufficient to accommodate all those leaving the public sector. The impression I have from my dealings with private sector employees is that they send much shorter s than public sector. They very much go to the point; they do not like to waste time. If I have a conversation with somebody it will be over very quickly, they will organise something and that will be that. Public sector project manager A recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimated a loss of 900,000 jobs in the private sector as a result of the rise in VAT and the impact that the spending cuts will have on employers. 1 In a separate survey by LCCI, some 38% of London-based business respondents said they tender for public sector contracts, and of those, 82% were a little or very concerned about the effects of the cuts on their business. Unsurprisingly then, 93% of employers surveyed did not believe it was realistic to expect the private sector to absorb most of those empolyees offloaded by the public sector. This view was shared by 90% of employees in the public sector itself. What is more almost nine in ten (88%) of employers in the private sector surveyed said they were unlikely to take on more candidates from the public sector in light of public spending cuts. While the economy s capacity to accommodate public sector workers remains open to debate, the extent to which these views are coloured by perceptions of the skills offered by public-sector workers is also cause for concern. Even if the jobs exist, or become available as a result of the recent Budget measures to boost growth, will private sector employers be able to overcome any possible bias and welcome candidates from the public sector? And how might those candidates change their tactics to counter any negative bias that may stand in their way? The danger may be that private sector companies in the UK, who fail to recognise the existence and value of the skills becoming available, will be less able to capitalise on the economic upturn, reducing UK plc s ability to compete on the world stage. Redundancies in the public sector will result in an influx of talent to the private sector job market, many of them with highly marketable experience, such as: Management of multi-million pound budgets, including critical decision making Identification and implementation of cost control and best-value initiatives Compliance with complex regulatory or legislative requirements Management and mitigation of risk Development of people and teams Management of complex, highly political stakeholder relationships Knowledge of how governmental organisations work and an in-depth understanding of their requirements There is certainly no lack of skills on offer from the coming wave of public sector jobseekers. The problem rests more on perceived mismatches between the expectations of employees and their prospective employers. The identification and recognition of the value of those skills in the private sector will be critical for a successful transition. 7 1 CIPD: CIPD estimates 1.6 million extra private sector jobs needed by simply to offset full impact of Coalition Government s spending cuts and VAT rise, OPTIONS FOR ACTION A map for success: mapping existing skills across the public sector to those that will be required by the private sector in years to come will provide a better picture of how prepared the workforce is for the transition, as well as the investment in training required. Provide support: the government has a role to play in both funding and supporting those who fund programmes to smooth the transition between the public and private sectors. While significant cuts in public spending may be necessary to reduce the deficit, it is arguable that this might be an area of expenditure where the costs to industry and the costs in welfare associated with the consequences of doing nothing, are higher than the sums that government would have to find. 5. HOW BAD IS THE DISCONNECT? Despite major transformation in the public sector, stereotypical perceptions remain on both sides, with workers and bosses alike incapable of recognising each other s strengths and similarities. Even though 17% of private sector employers thought an influx of public sector workers would be helpful to their organisations, more than three in five (63%) were unsure about the prospect, while as many as a fifth (20%) were much more negative. The vast majority (83%) of private sector employers regard previous private sector experience as very important or quite important when recruiting. Yet, 38% felt public sector experience was not important at all and 52% deemed it as not very important ; only 10% thought of previous public sector experience as very or quite important. An easy life? Anything but The perception amongst private sector managers that public sector workers have an easy life is common. Behind this is the idea that public sector employees are promoted beyond their abilities and have a more relaxed attitude to work, to the point of being called clock-watchers, slow and lazy. Nearly 90% of business leaders surveyed assumed that working hours in their companies are longer than those in the public sector. More than half of public sector workers (57%) were well aware of this perception. 8 Figure 1: Private sector employers assumptions on public sector employees according to the latter. 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Less commercially aware Will find it difficult to make the transition Will find it difficult to transfer their skills Are used to working fewer hours Will be less skilled at business development Will bring in new skills Will bring in new contacts Are skilled at working at large (or complex) organisations Other Public sector workers also thought business leaders would see them as less effective workers, who prefer to work at a slower pace and less adaptable to change. Yet, many of those who have worked with public sector workers in recent years say they face extreme pressure. A recruitment consultant interviewed for this report said that public sector workers have to work within reduced budgets and tight timescales, with delivery targets as demanding as any experienced by their private sector peers. Public servants, not public enemies Political pressure also makes a difference. Public sector workers are subject to continued scrutiny by politicians, often reflected and magnified in the media. The failings of certain individuals are often applied with a broad brush to the majority, whose efficiency, work ethic and flexibility would in fact be welcome assets in any private sector organisation. According to one interviewee, the public sector is characterised by diffuse decision making and highly influential stakeholders which results in a perceived preoccupation with controls, procedures and bureaucracy. One ex-public sector employee said, in the private sector, you build your business case on finance; money is the bottom line. In the public sector, there are more considerations. You need to demonstrate the social, equality and accessibility impact. Money is not the bottom line, an
Search
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks
SAVE OUR EARTH

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!

x