The sector must switch to long-term thinking

By Chris Barrow | 28 May 2019

These are interesting times for local government. As resources reduce and demand rises it’s all too easy to be disheartened about the future, but so far councils have shown amazing resilience, revolutionising the way they operate, innovating and adapting to the growing pressures of this rapidly changing world.

The focus so far has been on the here and now, but the sector must think long-term.

While lean structures and new operating models are important, they will only work if the right people with the right skills are in place to drive forward sustained change and improvement.

So, what about the public sector workforce of tomorrow? What does a 16-year-old in 2019 think about local government as a place to carve out a career? What is being done to attract the so-called Generation Z to the sector?

There are some quick wins for local authorities. Using social media and creating attractive, targeted recruitment campaigns are just some of the tools available.

Local government has a positive story to tell by sharing the great work it does every day.

But how many of the younger generation know about this work? If they do, will they attribute it to local authorities?

Young people need to understand the vast range of careers and services councils provide.

Recent events have dis-connected young people from Government at all levels. Reconnecting them is a huge job that goes beyond local government – but councils can make a start.

Councils, and we as recruiters, have a key role to play in making this happen and attracting bright, new talent to join the sector.

The benefits are clear to see as we move into a more agile, digital age.

Chris Barrow is Consultant, Public Sector Executive Search – Penna

Chris.barrow @penna.com

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