Archive for November, 2010

Would you hire a public sector worker?

I heard something very disturbing today that really got me thinking. A friend had mentioned that they found their status as a previous public sector worker was causing them problems to get a job. It wasn’t just some bitching and moaning, he was confidentially told this by a personal friend who was involved in the hiring process that it was a deciding factor. Now I know this is an awful generalization, very unpolitical correct no doubt against the law (I mean they always write the laws in their favour right?). But is it possible their is a small truth in it??

In my mind there is a big chasm between public sector workers and private sector workers who work in the SME sector. The public sector has different goals and performance reviews. The big thing I notice is in this “job for life” sector its very hard to get fired unless your stick you neck out and do something abnormal. In the private sector its very hard to get promoted unless you stick your neck out every so often so you can be noticed.

This not sticking your neck out is why departments like Enterprise Boards have committees to approve every small grant. Enterprise Ireland spent two third of their budget on Administration and only one third on grants! Making every decision by committee is a massively expensive way to make sure no-one is accountable.

Things that have happened in the last month made me even more aware of the gaps between the two sectors of workers. Its not that the people are bad but the systems change their approach to work. There’s huge talk about offering redundancy to public sector workers who no longer have any role in the departments they work in, but cannot be let go due to agreements previously made without big redundancy. This simply wouldn’t happen in the private sector. If they couldn’t afford you, like it or not they would find a way to get rid of you. I don’t mean unjustly, but its a simple fact that some people have been abusing the system in the public sector, FAS was never decidedly a “bad” organization, no one every stuck their head out they just slowly raised the bar on the levels of corruption over time. If you need to down size your department in the private sector and people have been committing fire-able offenses, em no brainer.

An example of how one could down size without redundancy: Check the last 10 years of stationary expenses. I bet Septembers bills we’re usually high, a stationary rep told me they we’re instructed to get in quantities of childrens copy books etc, which they didn’t normally stock to facilitate demand from government departments with no ties to education. Cross reference and hold the purchasing department also accountable for not preforming their duties. Cut the sloth, don’t reward it.

But this post isn’t politically motivated, the question is – Are public sector workers attitudes toward work somewhat spoiled by their previous experience in a organization where their wage and future weren’t as closely tied into the ability of their job to provide positive return on investment?

Has the public sector made a section of the work force less valuable?? And if so is there anyway of addressing it?