Public sector jobs a draw for working professionals but of less interest to students — new report

  • Multiple public sector employers rank among the top 10 most popular employers for professionals across business, IT, and health and medicine
  • However, public sector employers were not listed among the top 30 employers for business or IT students
  • Health and medicine students were the only student group to rank a public sector employer within their top 10 preferences
  • IrishJobs.ie GM Orla Moran: “Since Covid-19, the world of work has changed, and so too have people’s priorities. An organisation’s recruitment and retention strategy must reflect this.”

Professionals are more likely to consider a job in the public sector than their peers in third-level education, according to new Most Attractive Employers Index Ireland 2020 research by e-recruitment platform IrishJobs.ie, in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum. 

The research, which was conducted among 11,769 students and 7,314 professionals across business, IT, health, engineering, and natural sciences in Ireland, reveals that multiple employers within the public sector ranked among the 10 most popular employers for professionals across business, IT, and health and medicine industries.

In contrast, employers in the public sector were not listed among the top 30 employers for business or IT students.

Only one student group (health and medicine) ranked a public service job within the top 10 ranking of employers, with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Education and Teaching both ranking as a preference for this category.

Business breakdown

According to the research, public sector or semi-state jobs are particularly popular among professionals in the business sector, with those within the industry ranking the Civil Service, the Health Service Executive (HSE), and Enterprise Ireland within the top five employers.

The top employers for students in the business sector are predominantly within tech and professional services industries, including Google, Apple, KPMG, Facebook, and PwC, which all ranked in the top five.

Business
Rank Student Professionals
1GoogleGoogle
2AppleCivil Service
3KPMGFacebook
4FacebookHealth Service Executive (HSE)
5PwCKerry Group
6DeloitteEnterprise Ireland
7MicrosoftDiageo
8EY (Ernst & Young)Apple
9AmazonLinkedIn
10AIBAer Lingus

IT breakdown

Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Facebook ranked as the top five employers for students in IT. These were followed by Intel, IBM, Dell, Samsung, and Twitter. Public service jobs were not listed among the top 30 employers for IT students.

Professionals within the IT sector had similar preferences to students in the industry, listing nine of the same employers among their top 10. However, unlike students in the sector, IT professionals ranked public services within their top 10 employers, with the Civil Service ranking eighth. 

IT
Rank Student Professionals
1GoogleGoogle
2MicrosoftMicrosoft
3AppleFacebook
4AmazonAmazon
5FacebookApple
6IntelLinkedIn
7IBMIntel
8DellCivil Service
9SamsungDell
10TwitterIBM

Health and medicine breakdown

Health and medicine students were the only student group to rank a public service employer within their top 10 preferences. The HSE and the Department of Education and Teaching were listed within the first five preferences for health and medicine students, ranking in first and sixth place respectively.

The attractiveness of the HSE and the Department of Education and Teaching as an employer was also reflected among professionals within the sector. The Department of Education and Teaching ranked in third place for professionals. The Civil Service was also listed amongst the top 10 employers for health and medicine professionals.

Health and Medicine
Rank Student Professionals
1Health Service Executive (HSE)Health Service Executive (HSE)
2PfizerPfizer
3Boston ScientificDepartment of Education/Teaching
4Johnson & JohnsonNovartis
5Department of Education/TeachingJohnson & Johnson
6GoogleGoogle
7GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)Civil Service
8AppleGlaxoSithKline (GSK)
9BootsBoston Scientific
10NovartisAbbott

Commenting on the results, Orla Moran, General Manager at IrishJobs.ie, said:

“Employers today are now more aware than ever of how they are perceived by different audiences, including their existing employees and prospective hires.  This perception directly impacts their ability to recruit and retain the best talent, and by extension, has the potential to either cost or save organisations significant amounts of money.

“Our research shows the changing priorities among students and professionals.  Students, understandably, want to work for international employers on the cutting edge of innovation, where there is potential to earn significant amounts of money and opportunities to travel. However, as professionals progress in their careers, their priorities change and considerations such as work-life balance and job security come to the fore. 

“For employers, it is critically important that they recognise these nuances and changing motivations of individuals at different stages in their career.  

“Equally, employers must remain agile to changing market conditions.  For example, if an organisation is implementing the same employment brand or recruitment strategy as twelve months ago, it is no longer fit for purpose. 

“Since Covid-19, the world of work has changed, and so too have people’s priorities.  An organisation’s recruitment and retention strategy must reflect this. 

“For example, only last week, Twitter announced that it intends to give its global workforce the option of working from home on a permanent basis.  This would have been completely unforeseen even twelve weeks ago, however today, many audiences are seeing this development as a logical next step in the evolution of how we work.”