Hays UK jobs and employment blog



Stories at the heart of the public sector

By Matt Lewis, Director Hays Public Services


A career with meaning is the holy grail for many job hunters, and many talented workers will go out of their way to find a job which has a direct, beneficial effect on people, society or the environment. The private sector will always struggle to provide this kind of meaning, whereas public sector employers have this in abundance, and need to prioritise storytelling as part of their efforts to find new talent to join them.

People want to make a difference

Workers are often drawn to the public sector because of the meaningful nature of the work and the purpose of the organisation. Effective storytelling on websites and/or job adverts can help to break down the ultimate goals of the organisation and its real-life effect on the lives of real people. This will help potential talent to see how their input will be part of the greater good, thereby encouraging applications to your available roles.

This could be as simple as outlining a mission statement or featuring some real-life examples to demonstrate the importance of the work and how meaningful working with you could be.

They also want their own lives

Another key advantage of the public sector is access to more annual leave and flexible working practices. The promise of improving workers’ work-life balance and general wellbeing is very attractive to potential workers. Therefore, your story shouldn’t focus purely on your organisation’s outwards effect, but also inwards, on how you nurture and develop your team. Get this across and you’ll turn the heads of the 43% of private sector professionals who are unsatisfied with their current work life balance.

Meaningful work isn’t limited to healthcare or social services

It’s sometimes difficult for professionals to see how their skillset can have a meaningful impact on the world, particularly if they come from professions which aren’t directly involved in helping people. Your story should help professionals see how their contribution will lead to the success of the whole organisation.

IT professionals required to complete a transformation project in the NHS, for example, could be attracted to the role if it’s made clear that their project will make it easier for clinical staff to deliver care, and could have the scope to improve the lives of hundreds of patients. When hiring for support staff, therefore, make sure it’s clear during the application process what the overall aims of your organisation are and how the successful candidate’s contribution will make them a reality.

Make stories the heart of your employee value proposition (EVP)

Storytelling should be a part of your EVP, which communicates your organisation’s values and culture as well as the rewards, opportunities and experience of working for you. From job adverts and screening tools through to your career site, induction and employee literature, the purpose and meaningful nature of the work should be central to every stage of your application process, delivering a clear message of who you are as an organisation and how meaningful a career with you could be.

If you would like assistance promoting your current vacancies, contact your local Hays consultant

About this author

Matt Lewis, Director Hays Public Services, has worked in specialist recruitment since 1994, the last 10 years of which have been spent working specifically with the public sector. Matt’s role has developed into leading MSP and RPO recruitment solutions to best position organisations to attract and retain high quality talent.




Helping you manage the new era of work

Hays Thrive

As the way we work changes at a rapid pace, our new online training toolkit will help your workforce become more agile and adaptive.

Find out more


Job search

Search for a job

Looking for a new role? Search here for your ideal job or get in touch with one of our expert consultants.


Register a job

Register a vacancy

Have a vacancy? Fill in your details here.


Contact us

Find your nearest Hays office

Hays has offices across the whole of the UK. Contact us to discuss your employment needs.