Cutting costs has already reached a high level of importance on the HR agenda in the public sector, substantially ahead of the second most important issue, Absence Management a survey by HRreview and conference producer, Symposium Events has found.

The survey, released today and available for download here

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Symposium Event’s director, Paul Gray said  “This is interesting, as cutting government expenditure is set to be a major priority in future years, but the need for ‘cuts’ was still barely acknowledged by the Government when the survey was conducted. It seems that HR professionals are well aware of the demands for savings that are likely to be placed on them in the future. 

Some interesting differences in priorities within the public sector emerge from this table.

  • Absence management ranks as the second or third priority for Local Government, Central Government and the NHS, but is only 8th for the education sector.
  • Union Negotiations are a low priority for the NHS (10th), Education (11th) and Local Government (12th) but are the 3rd highest priority in Central Government.
  • Pay and Benefits rank 7th in Central Government and 8th for Local Government and the NHS, but are the most important issue in the Education sector.
  • The use of Shared Services is the 4th most important issue in local government HR, but barely features in the other three sectors, coming last in the NHS and Education groups and second-to-last in Central Government.
  • Recruitment and Retention is a high priority in the NHS (3rd) and Education (4th), but much less of a concern in Central Government (8th) and Local Government (9th).

There are also some interesting similarities:

  • A high priority given to Cutting Costs (ranked as a top three issue across the public sector)
  • Despite this, Managing Redundancies ranks in the bottom three issues across all sectors.  Job security is famously good in the public sector and on this measure looks set to continue!

 This survey was conducted online, via the website, over the month of July 2009.  The aim of the survey was to identify the priorities facing HR practitioners within the public sector.   Respondents were from across the public sector with the largest group being from local government (35%) second was education (25%), third the NHS (19%) central government and other smaller areas made up the remaining 21%.

 The research was conducted to inform the development of the programme for Symposium Events’ conference “HR in the Public Sector 2009: At the Heart of Efficiency” which takes place in London on Thursday, 26th November 2009.  (More information on this event can be found at ).

 You can download the full survey here.