Hays UK jobs and employment blog


Supporting our public services – is it time to consider your career path?

By Matt Lewis, Director of Hays Public Services

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our lives, work, and – crucially – our NHS and public services. Since the beginning of the crisis, our front line key workers have forged on tirelessly to ensure we can all continue to stay at home and save lives.

At 11am on 28 April, all of NHS England’s national and regional teams along with the public were asked, in a minute’s silence, to pay their respects to the friends and colleagues they have lost over the last two months due to the virus. We also commemorated those key workers who work outside of the NHS who have also lost their lives because of the pandemic.

Since I wrote my previous blog on supporting our public services, we’ve also seen every Thursday evening become a national event as we #clapforcarers. It’s merely a token of our appreciation of, and gratitude for, the challenging and relentless work that our key workers are doing, but it’s certainly signified that we’re united in supporting our public service professionals.

Supporting where we can

As a key supplier to the sector, we’ve been actively collaborating with our public services, supporting the sourcing of staff wherever we can. For example, some of our most significant undertakings have been:

  • Working with the London Ambulance Service in transporting patients to the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel
  • Recruiting hundreds of Ambulance Care Assistants for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Supporting the nation’s 111 services by recruiting similar numbers across various regions in the UK
  • Sourcing large numbers of social and support workers across local government, housing and charitable organisations in supporting local communities

It has been hugely rewarding to source critical roles such as these and offer our support to public services up and down the country.

Our work across central, local government and healthcare covers not just the growing need for doctors, nurses and social workers, but also contact centre, property, maintenance and cleaning staff to name just a few. Naturally many of the key workers we have placed have worked in the public sector before, however some are transitioning from private sector settings or have worked in a completely different industry before.

And it’s not just frontline key workers in demand right now. As we emerge from the emergency response and service continuity planning, we’re seeing demand growing for professionals of all descriptions as our public services adapt to what is fast becoming the new normal. With the release of new funding finance professionals are coming to the fore, as are HR specialists to deal with the people related consequences of the changing world of work, marketing experts to present critical messages to internal and external audiences, property professionals to develop a new socially distanced working environment and more, across a wide variety skills and disciplines.

How could this fit into your career path?

Considering our key workers and the extraordinary circumstances they operate in daily, I’m sure many of us feel compelled to question our purpose in our professional lives. In a piece he wrote earlier this year, our CEO Alistair Cox reflected on why we need to find purpose in the work we do, which I firmly believe is a fundamental part of choosing to work in public services. I’ve paraphrased some of his most salient points:

  • As humans, we have an innate need to contribute, which opens our eyes and makes us feel personally accountable for the work that we do, and the meaning it offers
  • An organisation’s mission is different from its purpose – the mission is the ‘what’, and the purpose is the ‘why’. More of us are increasingly reflecting on these in our own jobs, in evaluating the personal and social contribution that we make
  • By joining a purpose-driven organisation which is aligned to our own personal value systems, we can find meaning and purpose in the fact that we are having the positive impact on the world that we feel we need to make

For those who have been on the fence for a while considering a new job or career, or perhaps those needing to find a new opportunity due to the changing market, looking to the public sector could be a chance to find a role which fulfils a hunger for purpose and desire to contribute to the greater good. Not to mention that working in the public sector gives you the opportunity to directly improve people’s lives across a wide scale.

There are some lesser-known upsides to working in the public sector too; these include greater flexibility in working hours; extensive training opportunities which in some cases outperform the private sector; greater job security from having government backing; and competitive salary and benefits packages segmented by transparent pay bands.

I truly believe that despite being in such difficult times, our public sector heroes are inspiring real moments of kindness, support and generosity among all of us. If you have felt humbled by these moments, as many of us have, now is perhaps a better time than any to join the valiant efforts of our public services and take your career in a purposeful and rewarding direction.

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.



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