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Recruiting the Next Generation of Public Sector Employees

August 14, 2020

With a workforce of 2.1 million, the Federal Government is the country’s largest employer. Public service careers are attractive to new prospects largely due to the service-driven mission which gives employees a deeper purpose. Leveraging that mission in the public sector is a timely and significant task, not only as the Government strives to recover from the pandemic, but also because public workforces are struggling in an era when many older employees are preparing for retirement. As a generation of employees with decades of public service begin exiting the workforce, the Government must begin recruiting new, young talent to the public sector. Below, WBD shares the top two recruiting messages to help federal clients diversify their workforce and recruit the next generation of public servants.

Mission and Purpose

Whether it is protecting the environment, fighting organized crime, or ensuring that low-income students receive an adequate education, the tasks of public service offer powerful opportunities for branding Government work as the meaningful career that it is. A federal, state, or local agency can give prospective candidates more opportunities to directly improve our society than other more high-profile opportunities. If someone is passionate about the environment, safety, or education – or the myriad other priorities of government –the public sector may be the best fit for them.

Federal Culture

Like any employer that attracts talented employees, fostering a welcoming and engaging culture is a high-priority to finding and retaining these performers. Government employees’ own impressions of their workplace offer us a glimpse into the value they find in terms of workplace culture and opportunities. Recent hires could be given an extra monetary or beneficiary incentive to help review applications, take interviews, and answer questions about their Agency to prospective hires. This approach, while not currently fostered by the Federal Government, ensures that not only will the job have a youthful brand, but that prospective applicants will know the kinds of people they may be working with if they take a public sector job.

The public sector has unique strengths and challenges that require a distinctive approach to recruiting. Everyone knows that you need a clear and consistent recruiting message, and that you should know your target audience, but leveraging it in practice might be the key ingredient for the next generation of public employees.

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