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Public Sector Skills Shortage: Why Bridging the Gaps Will Help Your Organisation Thrive

87% of employers (including Central and Local Government, NHS) said they have experienced a skills shortage in 2022.” – Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends Report 2022

Many public sector organisations will always have competition when it comes to retaining, accessing or gaining the right amount of the needed skills required to reach goals and improve services.

Whether this competition comes from quickly advancing technologies that require specific skill sets or private sector organisations and their advanced benefits packages, the public sector has a skills battle on its hands.

But, by identifying where your organisation needs to improve, what skills gaps you have and how you can close them, your organisation can better serve the public for now and in the future.

In this blog, we will cover why it's important for your organisation to close your skills gaps, and the challenges the public sector faces when doing so and how our expertise can help you.

Person using a computer to learn about the public sector skills shortage

What Challenges Does the Public Sector Face When Bridging Skills Gaps?

1. Budgeting

It can be difficult for the public sector to compete with the private sector when it comes to hiring candidates – especially if the competition is over the same skills. This is down to lower budgets and fewer resources for development opportunities and benefits packages.

Take the digital skills gap for example. Say a public sector employer is looking for skills in the AI space, an organisation like this would struggle to compete with the salary or benefits of a large Fin-Tech company.

2. Hiring Gen Z / Attracting new talent

After the COVID-19 pandemic, employees’ values and expectations for their job changed. The top benefits employees look for are organisational purpose, clear career pathways, work-life balance and flexible working. Your organisation may need an employee’s skills, but what will you give them in return for this and their experience? Will it be working on different exciting projects? Having a real impact on an important public service? Location or travel benefits? It’s all about the why for employees.

Retaining this new talent, especially from the younger generations will also play a challenging role in closing the skills gaps. Chief Executive, John Mark Williams, during the PSE’s recent Future Proofing the Next Generation Webinar spoke on this saying “public sector time scales for development are long ones and can become a challenge in attracting new talent in the sector.”

3. Understanding the skills gaps that are a priority for each organisation

There are hundreds of different roles across the public sector, all of which require different skills, from School Crossing Patrol Wardens to Senior Accountants. Each organisation must be able to understand where their skills gaps lie, understanding this lack of skills holding the organisation back and how to build a strategy to close the gap.

4. Offering the right learning and development tools

Even after you’ve managed to hire the right employees with the right skills your organisation is missing, it’s not time to kick back. Going back to the report by Hays, their research and data discovered that 53% of employees in the public sector plan to change their job in 2022. This is mainly down to lacking salary and benefits or better offerings from other employers.

Bridging skills gaps also means retaining the right employees through meeting their salary, benefit and learning and development needs. It’s up to you as the employer to continually develop their skills to build an even stronger team for the future.

Learn 5 strategies for employee retention in the public sector.

4 Reasons Why Your Organisation Should Aim to Close Your Skills Gaps

1. Employee retention

If you want to avoid high hiring costs, developing or reskilling your current workforce might be your answer. When you discover what skills your organisation is missing from your analysis, you may think it’s easier to hire new employees who already have the right skills instead of developing those employees’ skills you already have. But, many organisations find the benefits of improving your current employees’ skills are much greater than rehiring.

You get the opportunity to future-proof your current workforce by reskilling your employees so they can grow or transition into another role, or learn a new skill entirely – e.g. digital skills training. Upskilling your employees is not only cost-effective, but you will improve retention rates and employee loyalty after they see your investment in their skills.

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2. Greater understanding of your workforce

Conducting a skills gap analysis can help you understand what current skills your workforce has, and the ones you’re missing that are stopping you from improving or keeping up with other organisations.

Once you know what those skills are, it’s likely you’ve undertaken serious thought about your employees as individuals with their own unique skills. This can help you understand how they really perform and what you can do as an L&D manager to use their current or new skills to achieve.

3. Increased productivity

Now you know your team’s ability, you will have a better understanding of what expectations and goals they can truly achieve and even push further. Closing your skills gaps can also help your organisation or team become more agile when it comes to an ever-changing environment and constantly upgrading technology.

Learn 4 steps to futureproof your learning and development strategy.

4. Stronger Public Services

Skills gaps cause workplace inefficiency as employees struggle to handle their responsibilities with their current skills. Therefore, closing those skills gaps will undoubtedly develop stronger and more effective public services for the general public, and continually discover new technologies and ways to remove specific service issues.

How to Bridge Your Skills Gaps - We Can Help

Once you have identified where your skills gaps are and specifically what team or member needs which skills through a skills gap analysis, you can begin looking at ways to close those gaps. 

If you're eligible for our free skills gap analysis, you'll also receive an Accounts Manager, who will work specifically with your organisation to provide expert training solutions for your needs. They will also help you build a strategy and training program that will get your employees and key stakeholders on board with the training. 

To get started, simply check your eligibility using the button below!

Find out if Your Organisation is Eligible for our Free Skills Gap Analysis

Fill in our quick survey using the button below to find out if you’re eligible for our skills gap analysis conducted by our experienced Account Management Team.

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