Leadership skills void a big concern for public sector

Published: 4 November 2014 at 11:55

Anglia Ruskin report reveals organisations struggle to hold on to talented employees

Budget cuts are hampering the ability of the public sector to train and retain its workforce, according to a report by Anglia Ruskin University and iGov Survey.

Addressing a leadership “skills gap” is the priority for managers polled in the Public Sector Skills Survey 2014. When asked in what area their organisation was experiencing the biggest skills gap, 15% answered Leadership, 26% of whom work in Local Government. 14% answered Strategic Change, with 9% choosing Business Improvement.

A quarter of all respondents also told us that leadership skills are the biggest priority for training and development next year.

Only 37% of respondents said their organisation has a specific strategy to recruit and retain talented staff and management, while four-fifths (81%) of surveyed organisations do have a learning and development strategy. However, only 18% of respondents believe their training programme has not been affected by budget cuts.

Fewer than half (38%) knew how much was spent on learning and development for each employee. Just 4% of those who did said they spent more than £1,000 per head on average.

Jan Skene, Head of Degrees at Work at Anglia Ruskin, said:

“This study gives us a great insight into how the public sector approaches training and development. While it is clear organisations take training and education seriously, it is also concerning that budget cuts have taken their toll on the ability of the public sector to address a significant skills gap.
“Anglia Ruskin University has a specialist department, Degrees at Work, helping organisations in public and private sectors to train and develop staff. We run work-based degree courses designed to be studied alongside full-time employment. As the degrees are taught online, they are more accessible than campus-based study and help firms acquire and retain the right talent.”

Organisations including the NHS, the RAF, the Army and Cambridgeshire County Council currently link up with Anglia Ruskin’s Degrees at Work team.

The survey polled 679 individuals from 541 unique organisations across the public sector, including managers from Central and Local Government, healthcare, the emergency services and education.