Private-sector workers wouldn't swap their less secure jobs for one with the government
- Only a quarter of corporate professionals said they believe their jobs are more secure than those within the U.S. government, but 89% said they still prefer to work in the private sector, according to a new survey from consulting firm Korn Ferry.
- The respondents were asked before the partial government shutdown ended Friday about how the temporary closure was affecting their businesses. Nearly two-thirds said they were worried that the shutdown would have a negative impact on their businesses. Nearly half of respondents said the shutdown affected their employees' morale and 31% said it affected employees' productivity.
- In more study results, 70% of respondents said they believed federal workers would be less engaged after returning to work, compared to 87% who said employees in their own organizations would be less motivated after returning to work following a work stoppage or strike. Three-quarters said they weren't worried that job competition would increase as a result of government employees looking for new opportunities in the private sector.
Corporate professionals seem well aware that government jobs offer more security than those in the private sector. But could it be that the more frequent and more lengthy government shutdowns keep corporate employees in the private sector? Do they make government jobs seem less prestigious? It's not certain which is the case. Corporate wages, however, are generally higher on average than public-sector salaries, while government wages increase faster and annual pay raises are nearly guaranteed, according to recent research.
House Democrats and the president agreed to a temporary end to the shutdown on Friday. However questions remain as to whether private-sector employers — facing serious talent shortages — will actively recruit government workers who might be looking for new opportunities and want to avoid future financial hardships caused by shutdowns. Although some federal workers earn six-figure salaries, the average federal worker earns $500 per week. Some government workers might find higher salaries a fair trade for less job security, a PayScale report predicted.
Talent management specialist John Sullivan said he believes a government shutdown is the right time for the private sector to hire federal workers because morale is usually low and the end of a shutdown is often unpredictable. "These negative events have unwittingly created a powerful recruiting opportunity for hiring away top government workers," he wrote in a blog post when the government shut down in 2013. His view remains unchanged today, according to Fast Company.