Public sector tops work life balance benefit policies

2003

Attractive flexible working and work-life balance benefits have become key weapons in public sector organisations’ attempts to attract a wider range of candidates, according to new research.

A survey of 3,500 public and private employers by recruitment company Manpower found that nearly seven out of ten public sector organisations use benefits such as time off in lieu, flexi time and working from home to promote work life balance as a means of attracting staff, compared to only four out of ten employers in manufacturing organisations and half of those in the services sector.

Almost all public sector organisations – some 97 per cent - offer employees flexible benefits ahead of just under 90 per cent in the services sector and 87 per cent in manufacturing.

But despite the fact that some 86,000 new jobs were created in the UK public sector last year - more than four times the rate of job creation in the private sector – a separate survey last month found that more than half all public sector organisations are experiencing shortages of suitably skilled applicants for jobs when they recruit, with the biggest shortages amongst technical and professional staff.

Manpower’s Peter English said: "Although most organisations have good work/life balance benefit policies in place, the public sector tops work life balance policies offered in other sectors. As a result, it is succeeding in attracting quality employees, and is retaining a happy and motivated workforce, which ultimately results in increased productivity.

"Flexible working attracts many people such as working mothers back to work in the public sector, as many can start work at 8am and leave much earlier in the afternoon, allowing them to fulfil childcare commitments.

"Furthermore, many civil servants accrue hours and then take days off allowing them to pick and choose their work routines. As a result, public sector continues to be an attractive sector to work in, not only for the increasing number of jobs becoming available with rising government investment, but through the special attention they pay to the needs of its employees."