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Two-thirds of public sector content to stay put, especially in Yorkshire, says Badenoch & Clark

It is going to take more than pension reforms and redundancies to push public workers into the private sector, according to a report published yesterday by recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark.

Despite a sense of uncertainty surrounding job security and future remuneration, nearly two-thirds (64.7%) of all public workers are choosing to sit tight in their current position, with almost a third (31%) claiming they are happy in their job.

This sense of contentment is most expressed in Yorkshire, with nearly half (44.7%) of public workers in the region happy to remain in their current position. While over one in six (14.9%) respondents from the survey of 1,000 employees remain attracted to the public sector because of the benefits offered - including pensions - digging deeper into the attractions for staying reveals that job longevity ranks as the top reason to remain.

Nearly half (41%) of employees claimed that the length of time they have stayed in their role makes them reluctant to make the change and leave; a sentiment expressed by half (51%) public workers in the North East. A sense of making a difference also ranked highly, attracting over a third (38.3%) of people to the public sector - a feeling most common among Londoners, nearly half (45.5%) of whom shared this altruistic motivation.

For about three in 10 people, making a difference is followed closely by having good colleagues to work with (33.2%) and a better work/life balance than that perceived in the private sector (28.1%). While keeping morale levels up has proven to be the greatest challenge for all public workers over the past six months - with nearly half (43.3%) of employees ranking this above managing change and being under-resourced - the desire of many workers to remain in the public sector is still evident.

Nicola Linkleter, MD at Badenoch & Clark, said: "Given the unprecedented level of change in the public sector over the past six months, these findings highlight the continued sense of belonging felt by many within the sector.

"For a lot of employees their longevity in the role does make them fearful of change, but equally the work/life balance offered by public sector roles and the sense of purpose achieved from their position give them strong reason to stay. While benefits including pensions do rank highly in public workers' reasons to remain in the sector, these findings also show that there are stronger drivers behind employees' desire to stay.

"Employers in the public sector must ensure this sentiment is supported and nurtured as change occurs and morale remains low, acknowledging employees' expertise and commitment to the role. Now is the time to identify and reward top talent within the organisation so as to retain key employees and attract future external talent as the public sector repositions itself."