Industry article

Public Policy Recruitment – What are the latest trends?

Photo of Jade Brar-Haase
Jade Brar-Haase
Posted on 22 Sep 2023 · 7 mins read

This blog looks at some of the latest hiring trends in public policy recruitment, how these are likely to change in the coming years and how demand for skills will impact professionals working in this area

Professionals operating in public policy have to evolve their skill sets to keep pace with the latest market trends and demands. The field is constantly changing, which is hardly surprising when you consider its intrinsic link to the political sphere. But what are the major trends in public policy recruitment at the moment and what skills are currently in demand by employers?

Public policy recruitment

One of the single biggest shifts in the public policy arena in recent times is the move by the UK government to relocate its policy hub away from London to Sheffield. We discussed the announcement in more detail in a previous public policy blog but this promises to significantly shift the dial in the public policy arena. The new facility will become the first-ever campus of its kind established outside of London and will involve more than 2,400 government roles being moved to the Yorkshire and Humber region under the flagship reform programme.

It also comes at a time when the Cabinet Office has announced a pilot regional fast-stream programme, which it says is part of government plans to bring jobs and local economic growth to other regions across the UK, outside of the capital. It is believed that the shift further North should not only provide a more fairly balanced offer to public policy professionals but also boost the economy of the region.

Public policy skills shortages

Another major trend impacting public policy recruitment is the impact of ongoing skills shortages. As many employers will know, it’s challenging to find public policy professionals in the existing market and firms are fighting within the same relatively small pools of skills, which is making the retention of existing workforces even more important. With financial pressures in the current climate, it has been hard to convince people to stay with salary increases, so firms have been leveraging demand for other aspects like flexible and remote working instead. However, if recent data from the Office for National Statistics is to be believed, pay is set to rise, giving employers better opportunities to retain the key skills on their books.

But what skills are particularly in demand in the world of public policy recruitment?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, employers in almost every industry are prioritising the major issue of sustainability and trying to boost their environmental credentials. This is being driven in both the political and business worlds and has been expedited by the creation of new policies and political moves designed to reduce carbon emissions at a national level. These changes and increased focus on the environment mean that knowledge and deep understanding of climate change science and the wider subject are becoming increasingly important for public policy professionals and will likely be sought after by employers across almost every sector.

In addition, the aforementioned socioeconomic and inflationary pressures currently being experienced are also creating challenges for public policy professionals, and there is much greater scrutiny on public spending and priorities. This means that high-level communication and persuasion skills have never been more important

Flexibility and adaptability are also key traits; the world is moving at a rapid pace with major changes and shifts in policy becoming more commonplace, meaning that professionals need to be able to roll with the punches and have the ability to operate in an ever-changing environment. There are also likely to be major political shifts on the horizon, which will create further challenges for talent and for public policy recruitment at a wider level.

This rapidly shifting environment will create a growing demand for specialist professionals operating in policy, public affairs, strategic communications, economics, and more. If you work in these fields and are looking for your next role, or if you are an employer seeking skills to enable you to evolve and adapt, then get in contact with our expert team. We are dedicated to sourcing and engaging with the best professionals in the industry to meet the unique needs of our clients.

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