What are public sector jobs?
Unlike private sector jobs, which are based in companies owned by a private citizen, a public sector job is a position held in an organisation owned and managed by the government. There are all sorts of public sector jobs in the United Kingdom and other countries, from police officers to teachers to government administrators to postal workers.
In the United Kingdom alone, there are currently 5.83 million people working in the public sector.
The amount of people working in the British public sector has increased since 2021, but there are still a few hiring challenges to overcome. In this article, we’ll discuss the challenges in the public sector and how the recruitment sector can help overcome them.
Public and private sector competition
Before the pandemic, there were around 800,000 job vacancies in the British private sector, which grew to 1.3 million vacancies when the pandemic ended. Because many candidates chose to work in the private sector, 73% of public sector employers now need help finding the skills they need to fill specific roles and are dealing with a minor skills shortage.
Highly skilled workers are now more likely to opt for the larger salaries offered by private companies. This labour shortage is perhaps most apparent in the teaching profession. In 2023, many head teachers warned of a dangerous teacher shortage.
These statistics are concerning, but the public sector can attract and retain new staff by insisting upon its unique selling point: the chance to make a positive mark on society in jobs such as nursing, caring, policing, etc.
Mass burnout in the public sector
Although many public sector jobs can be more rewarding than private sector jobs, public sector workers are just as prone to burnout, especially during challenging times. During the global pandemic, British Parliament feared an emerging crisis, as tens of thousands of nurses left their jobs annually, leaving a whopping 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies.
According to a Mind survey, public sector workers are now over three times more likely to cite issues with their mental health than those working in the private sector. However, public sector workers can benefit from adopting techniques from the private sector, such as flexible working, less bureaucracy while trying to book days off, and more organised and productive team collaboration.
Regarding recruitment, the public sector can use psychometric tests to understand who is likely to stay during difficult periods and why the candidate wants the job.
What are psychometric tests in recruitment?
Psychometric testing is used during the hiring process to gauge a candidate’s mental abilities and characteristics, such as intelligence levels, aptitude and many other talents. Cognitive ability tests such as; verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, numerical and abstract reasoning, can be used alongside personality questionnaires and situational judgement tests to better assess a candidate’s suitability for a position, making recruiting the right person for the role much more straightforward.
How hiring in the public sector can be improved by psychometric tests and assessments
During the recruitment process, there’s no way to really see if someone who seems perfect on paper can successfully handle their new role. Recruiters can easily see a candidate’s education and experience, but psychometric tests can gauge other essential elements such as personality traits, working methods, communication, problem-solving abilities and much more.
As psychometric tests offer a comprehensive understanding of a candidate, recruiters can rest assured that they’ve hired someone with good traits such as honesty and working well with others.
Psychometric tests are more important for recruiters than ever
A study of 2000 people by the recruitment company Michael Page found that over half of 18-34-year-old respondents to a survey conducted during The Great Resignation were looking for new jobs. This statistic is a worry for the public sector as the chances of losing staff to private jobs have become larger than ever.
Thankfully, psychometric tests can be used to judge if a potential candidate has staying power (as well as helping to provide a better employee onboarding experience). Psychometric tests can be adapted to fit a particular job role in the public sector. Recruiters can rest assured they’ve hired a police officer who is honest, fair and not solely driven by authority. Or a nurse with the required levels of empathy but can also carry out their work efficiently and will not endure adverse effects on their mental health.
The bottom line
In this shaky job market, private and public sectors need help hiring and retaining staff. However, we at Clevry have developed powerfully predictive psychometric tests tailored for governmental departments and public sector organisations. These bespoke tests enable you to powerfully predict job performance, offer candidates a more engaging recruitment process, help organisations achieve better retention rates, and increase diversity, all while saving time and resources.
Check out our Public Sector & Government assessments page to learn more.