Public sector image deters new recruits

The public sector still has a serious image problem when it comes to recruitment, according to Angela O’Connor, president of the Public Sector People Managers’ Association.

O’Connor said the sector was often overlooked as a career choice.

“The public sector still suffers from a bad reputation,” she told Personnel Today. “People don’t recognise that it can offer an incredible range of career opportunities.”

Extensive bureaucracy in Whitehall and the ongoing equal pay crisis in local government have not improved the public sector’s standing in the eyes of potential recruits, O’Connor said. “So often, these massive government departments don’t relate to the individual any more. They are totally faceless.”

O’Connor was speaking in her first interview since joining the National Policing Improvement Agency as chief people officer in November last year, after four years at the Crown Prosecution Service.

O’Connor worked in the private sector before taking up a senior-level HR role in local government. She said there were no major differences between working in the two sectors. “I don’t see the private sector as some alien world full of money-grabbing hedonists,” she said. “Both worlds overlap all the time.”

See next week’s issue of Personnel Today for a full interview with Angela O’Connor

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