Public services are as good as the public servants who run them. So recruiting and retaining the right people is critical.

In this report, WPP agencies answer questions posed by leading communicators from around the world. These questions reflect challenges faced by many public sector recruiters across sectors and national borders including female recruitment, ethnic diversity and employer branding.

This report outlines how communication can best support public sector recruitment. We discuss some of the greatest challenges to recruitment through a series of questions and reveal how we are working with different countries and professions to solve them. 

Ethnic Diversity

Metropolitan Police, UK

The Metropolitan Police Service needs to attract more Black Minority Ethnic candidates to reflect the diversity of London. As part of a well-established positive action programme, it has successfully used communications to overcome barriers and increase applications.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) had an ambitious target to recruit 5,000 new police constables by 2015. The MPS’ stated aim is to have a police service that reflects the diversity of the city it serves (London). There is an ambition that 40% of new applications are from Black Minority Ethnic candidates.

The campaign needed to be hyper-targeted to BAME active and passive job seekers, but at the same time it needed to have a big enough reach to meet the campaign targets. 

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Behavioural Insights

National College for Teaching & Leadership, UK

As the number of pupils in England is set to increase, maintaining a strong pipeline of teachers is critically important. The National College for Teaching and Leadership share how they have tailored the messaging and positioning of teaching to attract high quality graduates.

Over the past five years there has been a move to increase the proportion of teacher trainees with ‘good’ degrees, encouraging those with a 2:2 or above to apply through attractive bursaries. This led to concerns about narrowing the pool of potential teacher trainees as teaching had a whole new set of competitors.

Teacher recruitment campaigns benefit from speaking to both rational and emotional needs. Secondly, to attract specific groups within the population, such as STEM graduates or higher quality graduates, it is important to tailor the routes into teaching and to reposition teaching as a way of widening horizons and opening doors.

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Employer Branding

Government of South Australia

Organisations with strong employer brands spend less money on recruitment and attract superior talent when compared to similar organisations with no employer brand profile. The South Australian Government is building a strong employer brand, using it alongside a recent talent attraction campaign for South Australia Police.

With a large workforce to maintain, along with persistent recruiting demands, finding solutions that reduce SA Government’s hiring costs, time to hire and staff attrition becomes very important. This is where developing and maintaining a strong employer brand is fundamental. 

Researching perceptions of the force uncovered a startling fact – that many South Australians felt you had to be ‘special’ or ‘different’ compared with an average person to join the police. What was needed was to take our target group on a journey that demonstrated the accessible, approachable and human qualities of the job. 

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Shaping the Public Sector Workforce of the Future: Leading Communicators Ask the Big Questions

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