A recent study found that government employers aren’t embracing digital recruiting methods, pitting them against their private sector counterparts in the war for talent.
The study conducted by Monster Government Solutions and Market Connections revealed a significant difference in how public sector versus private sector organizations use online tools to recruit talent. According to the study, private sector contractors are twice as likely as their public sector counterparts to leverage digital platforms and social channels for their recruitment needs.
The Government Recruitment & Retention Study surveyed 200 HR professionals within the public sector and the private sector government contracting community, on workforce challenges and opportunities in today’s competitive talent landscape.
Findings revealed that 52% of all respondents believe the shortage of available, qualified, and experienced job candidates remains the leading recruitment challenge. In addition, 39% of all respondents indicate they are dissatisfied with their current recruitment practices.
“The research confirms that our government is facing some critical skill gaps, and there’s a heightened need for new approaches to attract and retain specialized talent,” said Susan Fallon Brown, Vice President of Global Strategy and Business Development, Monster Government Solutions. “Today’s job seekers are taking a consumer shopping approach to their careers, and in this competitive talent market, it’s clear that government organizations have to close the gap with the private sector when it comes to meeting candidates where they are, online.”
Meeting Candidates Where They Are
Study findings revealed a significant difference in how public sector versus private sector organizations uses online tools to recruit talent. Results found that HR professionals working in the federal, state, and local governments are less likely to be using social media, online job boards, and other digital platforms, when compared to private government contractors who are often hiring individuals to work in the same positions.
Private sector respondents post opportunities through multiple channels including: job boards (80%), social media sites (66%), and advertise on digital platforms (46%); in contrast, less than half of all public sector HR professionals use the same the tools for recruiting talent, with only 42% using job boards, 34% using social media, and 23% regularly advertising positions across digital platforms.
The Importance of Employer Brand
As public sector organizations and the private sector government contracting community tackle some of society’s most important problems, the study found that a good reputation as well as recruiting messages that include this mission and purpose can be powerful in attracting top talent.
Among all respondents, 73% said a good reputation was an important factor among job candidates in selecting an employer and 67% cited an organization’s mission, vision, and purpose as significantly important. Meanwhile, having your employer brand stand out among competitors is the effort most strongly agreed upon as a way to attract talent at 54%.
“A strong, consistent message that communicates the best elements of the organization’s brand is just as important for recruitment as it is for citizen awareness and outreach,” said Aaron Heffron, Market Connections’ President. “In order to compete for top talent, the public sector and contractors who serve them need to stand out among their competitors. Those that fail to effectively match their mission and their brand often have not spent the necessary time to assess how well these two connect, or don’t.”
Retaining Skilled Talent Requires Exceptional Employee Experience
When it comes to keeping great talent, the study found that only 27% of public sector respondents are currently satisfied with their retention practices, while that number rises to 59% in the private sector government contracting community.
Although more than half of all respondents say that a positive work environment and flexible schedules enhances employee retention, private sector government contractors are more inclined than the public sector to implement other retention tactics, such as diversity and inclusion initiatives (54%), equitable compensation for performance (52%), and creative employee benefits (44%).
Respondents actually tied the candidate’s experience back to retention with 67% saying that a positive applicant experience can lead to higher employee retention rates. Government organizations can further maximize retention rates by embracing technology that enhances an applicant’s experience, and there is more work to do. Approximately one-third of public sector respondents rate current hiring management technology’s impact as having a negative impact on the applicant experience.