The public sector cannot continue to rely on pay and benefits packages to draw in new recruits, as better deals will soon be on offer in private-sector companies.
This is according to interim findings from a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and totaljobs.com, which forecasts that pay in the private sector will exceed that in public-sector organisations by 2016.
According to the research, which surveyed public-sector HR managers, employers in the sector will have to fill more than 1.5 million vacancies during the next four years.
However, with benefits such as pensions also being brought into line with those on offer in private-sector companies, the report warns that the public sector will need to focus more on employer brand and less on pay packages in order to fill these roles.
The research found 54% of hiring managers in public-sector organisations thought that a poor perception of the sector was a key barrier to attracting new recruits.
In addition, 70% of respondents believe that a lack of fresh talent applying for roles was already hindering efficiency in their organisation.
Mike Brooker, totaljobs.com public-sector director, said that employers in the sector will need to shift the focus away from pay in order to appeal to top talent in the future.
"With cuts and the private sector yet again competing on key elements such as pay and pensions, public-sector employers need to think differently when it comes to securing future talent.
"We're calling for these organisations to think more like a brand and become a destination employer of choice."
He added that, in order to achieve this, HR should not treat recruitment as a short-term transaction but rather as a long-term investment in an individual's future career.
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