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Young people give the public sector their vote of approval

Report reveals positive perceptions and opportunities amid concerns of skills gap and transformation.

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70% of local government employees are over 40.
43% agree the pay aligns with their aspirations as entry-level talent.
Figures reveal that under-25s make up just 4.6% of the workforce.

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Despite the challenges facing the public sector – it’s been voted one of the most appealing industries to build a long-term career for 18-25-year-olds.

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 the change and transformation consultancy, Grayce, revealed positive perceptions of a career in the public sector. Almost half (47%) believe this career path offers an attractive benefits package, while 43% agree the pay aligns with their aspirations as entry-level talent.

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

However, new data from LGA suggests a disconnect between the generally positive view of a career in the public sector and those who pursue it. Figures reveal that under-25s make up just 4.6% of the workforce – while more than 70% of local government employees are over 40.

Young people associate public sector careers with good work/life balance (45%) and flexibility (43%)

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%).

The research also highlighted concerns around cuts the public sector has experienced, with 44% saying they would avoid a career in the public sector.

Amy Gornall, Public Sector Client Director at Grayce said: “It’s positive to see that emerging talent hold positive views around public sector careers, and want to drive meaningful change through their work. However, the research also shows that the sector needs to change. 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.

“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.”

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