• Generation X career-changers look to give something back

    Jul 17, 2017

    WHEN it comes to later-life job moves, Generation X workers — born between the late 1960s and the late 1970s — want to give something back.

    Nearly half want to pursue jobs in the charity or public sector to contribute positively to the community, according to public sector executive recruitment and people development specialists GatenbySanderson.

    These second careers have often been forced upon Gen Xers following the national pension age rising to 67 and the 2008 financial crisis. But while they need to work longer, they want a different type of role — often something more fulfilling (33 per cent) and they also want to make sure they leave the country in a positive state for future generations and their children (45 per cent).

    Martin Tucker, chief executive of GatenbySanderson, says: “The public sector is facing significant challenges to deliver vital services to a population that is changing rapidly and at a time when budgets are being cut. Generation X brings a new perspective, life philosophy and skillset to senior roles, which is exactly what the sector needs.”

    Mark Turner, joint managing partner for central government at GatenbySanderson, adds: “Careerchangers are usually looking to assume key leadership roles in public sector and not-for-profit organisations.

    “Typically, they have built successful executive careers in the private sector and are looking to put their skills to use in the public sector, while making a positive contribution to the community and benefiting from being personally challenged.

    “This might include roles as non-executive directors in hospitals or housing associations, trustees in charities or chairs and members of regulatory or Government bodies.

    “There are a number of skills that are in demand, such as operational expertise, commercial, procurement, financial, change management and HR.

    “For career-changers, the public sector can also offer more flexibility, better working environments and better work/life balance compared to the private sector.”

    Examples of roles currently available include: board member at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; chair and lay board members at the Bar Standards Board; chair of North Bristol NHS Trust; non-executive chair of London Fire Brigade; and non-executive director of Nominet.

  • The Chair / Chief Executive relationship – a complex marriage that can stand the test of time

    Jun 20, 2017

    blog_post_5

    We launched our latest report at the RSA on 14th June alongside 50 chairs and chief executives. Sir Tony Hawkhead of Action for Children, and Baroness Delyth Morgan and Professor Lynne Berry of Breast Cancer Now joined broadcaster Liz Barclay on the Panel. The report follows our earlier look at the changing face of leadership in the sector Thriving in the Age of Disruption launched in 2016. We’re delighted to share this latest report with you now (download it here)

    Author:  Juliet Taylor, Partner and Head of Not for Profit Practice

  • The talent challenge in post Brexit world

    Jun 20, 2017

    blog_post_4

    As the UK commences two years of negotiations with the rest of the EU, the impact of Brexit is creating uncertainty for all. With a strong focus on the economy and the impact of leaving Europe on consumer confidence, it is perhaps easy to forget the many other layers of crucial public service that will be affected directly or indirectly by the conditions brought about by our exit from the EU.

    So what does Brexit mean for universities? How will the break with Europe change the game for universities? How will it affect international perception of the UK as a place to live, work and study? Are we still open for business? How ready will universities be to respond to changing markets and trends? Will they have the right leadership in place to steer the course?

    Our hope is that some of the insight gathered in our new report (download it here) will prompt further debate and encourage the Higher Education sector to grasp the nettle. We hope that you find the questions this paper raises thought provoking.

    Author:  Juliet Taylor, Partner and Head of the Education Practice

  • Overcoming the talent shortage in the public sector

    Apr 23, 2017

    blog_post_3

    In these challenging times the public sector needs courageous, innovative and diverse leaders, says Martin Tucker, Chief Executive at GatenbySanderson.

    2017 is posed to be a big year for the public sector. Whitehall has the task of overseeing and implementing Brexit, which seems to present new challenges on an almost daily basis. The NHS is at a critical juncture, local governments are trying to establish a new way of working with Whitehall, housing demand outstrips supply by a long way and almost every other sector is on the precipice of major reform. At the same time they are facing budget cuts or reductions in revenues.

    To be successful the public sector needs clear vision. It needs leaders who can guide it through a period of great change. However, feedback from industry suggests there is a significant skills shortage at a senior level. GatenbySanderson analysis of search and selection executive roles, advertised across the public sector, suggests that opportunities increased by five percent in 2016. The analysis also suggests the number of senior roles advertised has increased each year for the past three years. While part of this can be explained by the trend that the average tenure of a public sector leader is getting shorter, it also highlights how the sector is looking to bring in new skills.

    With the challenges the sector faces this year competition for the best talent is only going to intensify. What can public sector organisations do to help overcome the skills challenge?

    Establish a clear framework for a new approach

    It is clear the next generation of leaders will need more diverse skills and backgrounds, rather than fitting an established public sector mould. Our leaders must be open to new ideas and way of working – from being open to new partnerships, to changing to more flexible work practices to accommodate preferences of an upcoming millennial workforce. Experience beyond a single sector is a way to bring new life into public organisations, and an avenue to bring in those collaborative, commercial and digital skills the sector craves.

    One hurdle that public sector organisations face is their rigid structure and processes, which can be detrimental to the search process. These rigid structures can suffocate new approaches to find and assess the best people to guide an organisation through periods of change. Boards and decision makers should dare to re-think their current process – from how they identify skills gaps, job descriptions, the application and selection process, and the criteria upon which candidates are being measured. As part of this we need to re-think how we assess and develop leaders, not just through the lens of organisational objectives, but specific behaviours. This extra level of detail will help deliver a leader that is not only capable of bringing about change, but can also engage teams in the process.

    Understand that change isn’t always smooth sailing

    New approaches need courage, however, and that requires new leaders who are brave enough to make decisions and take considered risks. Change has to be more fundamental, embedded deep into the organisation. This takes time and happens more by increments than large leaps. Those looking for more theatrical, superficial change are unlikely to cut it in the complex, challenging and highly regulated world of public services.

    New approaches may not succeed the first time around. The measure of a good leader is how they learn and adapt their approach to bring about positive outcomes.

    If the sector is to thrive in this period of change, we all (both as consumers of public services and those working in the sector) must applaud those who strive to improve our communities and accept that sometimes things will not go exactly to plan. Running a public sector organisation is different to managing a football team. We cannot call for the manager’s head at the first sign of adversity. We must allow our leaders to learn from the challenges to create new iterations that will lead to success. Unlike the premier league, most organisations do not have multi-million pound budgets to invest; quite the opposite, most need to innovate to cope with reduced levels of funding and increased demands. It’s no surprise in 2017 that we are seeing an uplift in both ‘transformation’ roles and ‘finance’, as organisations need to balance the books while delivering more.

    This becomes increasingly difficult in the current media landscape. While increased scrutiny in the public eye is a positive move for transparency, it can also make attracting the best talent to lead public sector organisation even more difficult. Leaders must certainly be held to account, but we must also allow room for innovation – because a new way of doing things is going to ruffle a few feathers.

    Final thoughts

    If we live in a brave new world, we need leaders that are capable of making brave decisions. Finding these people to lead the public sector, in what is shaping up to be an even more challenging year than the last, requires a new approach from all involved. If the search is to be successful in 2017, organisations need to be clear about the skills and behaviours they are looking for and establish a framework that facilitates introducing greater talent and diversity. We must also understand that truly great leaders do not shy away from adversity or simply give up, they iterate and the overcome the challenges. However, to do this they must be given a chance.

    (This article was originally published on the Adjacent Open Access website, 30th March 2017)