Recruiting from private to public sector

January 28, 2019


To succeed in attracting and recruiting the best talent to a sector that faces major changes and challenges ahead places high demands on us as a recruitment partner but also on the recruitment process itself. The right competence in the right place is about seeing the potential in each individual and opportunities and sometimes daring to challenge the candidate profile.


Anna-Carin Ekman and Linda Jospehson – specialise in assignments within Harvey Nashs area of expertise, Public

Linda Jospehson and Anna-Carin Ekman – specialise in assignments within Harvey Nashs area of expertise, Public

At Harvey Nash we have for several years worked with our own dedicated team of specialists within the Public sector. The reason is that we see several differences compared to the private business sector and the assignments within public sector require a different type of competence. Successful recruitment processes require that we can map the entire candidate market and encourage more people to take the step between public and private business or vice versa.

The demands on public sector today are in many ways higher than in the private sector, when it comes to combining human and democratic values with efficiency and economic awareness. The need to recruit competence from the private sector can be challenging when, as an employer, it is not always possible to compete in wages and level of compensation.

“Being able to act as a speaking partner for our clients is something that many of our clients appreciate. Unlike our clients we can take unconditional meetings, map out the market and communicate the assignment in a more informal way”, explains Anna-Carin Ekman, who is currently responsible for Harvey Nash’s are of expertise Public.

With the experience we have in the industry, we can help candidates with more information about what a role in the public sector entails, how their unique competence and potential could be a match in a new role, as well as help weigh advantages and disadvantages. We act as a speaking partner to both the candidate and the client.

“Sometimes it is important to remind and prepare the candidates for the consequences of our democratic decision-making process so that we set the right expectations from the outset. This is the added value for our clients – that we help the candidates find the confidence in seeking the role at all, adds Linda Josephson”, senior Recruitment Consultant within Public.


The Government as an employer?

“A good thing I would say. Perhaps not the highest salaries, but there is much else that tips the scales. Good conditions for leave, security, life balance and usually good pension benefits. Depending on what phase in life one is in, one can appreciate different forms of compensation for work effort”, says Linda.

For many experienced managers, the idea of managerial responsibility with issues that have bearing on society as a whole is something that can attract. You want to contribute and give something back, perhaps through the experience gained in the private business sector. It can be a merit to have worked within the public sector, where one has acquired knowledge about how government functions and social institutions work. This applies to a greater extent to executive positions and board positions rather than middle managers.
“Of course, we also see the reverse, for example, that bransch and interest organisations often have a large interest in recruiting from the private business sector,” says Anna-Carin.
The dialogue within public organisations is governed daily by social issues, values and personal commitment. There is a very high level of knowledge in the public sector and a complexity given the responsibilities for our entire community. In our assignments, we notice the complexity especially in digitization issues, where one cannot approach work in the same way as in the private sector, working on small scale in the shadows, testing and trying out along the way. The outcome in the public sector is always monitored and scrutinized by media for instance and irrevocably affects everyone at the same time.

“There is also a more long-term perspective in the public sector that clearly has advantages over the often jerkier market in the private sector, with profit-driven goals and quarterly reports that must be met. Working in this area is incredibly inspiring and challenging”, concludes Linda.


Our area of expertise – Public

At Harvey Nash, we have chosen to call our area of expertise Public. This is because we see many points of contact between the various sectors and we do not want to limit our candidate network to only public authorities and administrations. We see that individuals are happy to move between organisations of non-profit and social enterprises, civil society and publicly owned companies. We keep ourselves up-to-date on the entire market; at a political level, national and regional level, county councils and municipalities, associations and NGO´s. What is common between the sectors is the social mission. Our assignments comprise all recruitment of managers and specialists, where we combine advertising with search when we map out the market, to identify the right candidates.
Our Public area extends over several brands within Harvey Nash Group, which means that we in the Nordic region work very closely with our colleagues at our sister company Alumni. We have a good reputation in the market and solid network that we have built since Alumni was founded over soon 30 years ago.

For more information about us and how we can add value to your career or organisation, please feel free to contact us:

Anna-Carin Ekman, Practice Manager
M: +46 73-095 71 01