Skip to content
Hays - Recruiting experts worldwide
  1. I am
    I am
Browse by expertise



Download our free report to find out how employers need to adapt to the changing nature of employment in the public sector.


Hays Public Services has surveyed over 1,000 public sector staff to assess how financial and policy pressures have changed the way the sector recruits and motivates its staff, and how it is adapting to the bigger role expected for the private sector.

The research examines pay, career prospects, changing demand for skills, private sector collaboration and predictions for further change. We hope this research will help public sector leaders understand what attracts people to work in the public sector,  what might discourage them, and how to develop and motivate them once they are in post.


In July and August 2012, we carried out a survey among public sector staff across the UK. This included local and central government, the NHS and social housing, as well as managers working for private sector firms servicing the sector. It was conducted online. A total of 1,102 people responded to some or all of the questions. Of these, 561 were responsible for recruiting staff. Almost a third of the total worked in organisations larger than 1,000 staff.

Some of the key findings from the full report:

Staffing levels and recruitment

  • Over half of respondents (52%) report having fewer staff in their organisation compared with last year. However, 84% have recruited in the past year.
  • Restructuring (18%) and replacing skills lost through redundancy or natural attrition (44%) were the main reasons employers recruited.

Pay, benefits and motivation

  • 91% of employees said working in the public sector offered challenging work, 72% said it was rewarding and over half (51%) said the public sector offered good benefits.
  • Given the choice, 41% of respondents would improve pay to attract talent, while 31% cited better career development as key to recruiting high quality staff.

A flexible workforce

  • Of those who recruited staff, 20% appointed exclusively to temporary posts, with another 15% using only fixed term contracts. 54% only recruited permanent staff, while the remaining 11% used a mixture.

Private sector collaboration

  • 81% said their organisation had not changed its recruitment practices in light of greater collaboration with the private sector
  • 65% said there had not been any impact on staffing levels from outsourcing, privatisation or public/private partnerships, while 31% said it had reduced staff
To download the full report as a PDF, including analysis of key themes found in the survey, the action required in order to adapt to the key findings and case studies from senior professionals in the sector, fill out our request form.