Fascinating week in Ottawa. Been having a great time, enjoying brown bag lunches and meeting with friends old and new.
I’m here to talk about public service sector renewal and as the the issue comes up on many occasions people ask me if I think the financial crises and the poor economy will make the government a more attractive choice for gen Yers.
I think the generation lens is the wrong one, because the public service needs not only good gen yers, but also good gen xers. That said, I think the answer, broadly, is no. The crisis will not have a big impact on applications. Richard Florida hit on the reason why on Monday in his Globe and Mail piece about the asymmetrical distribution of unemployment the recession will visit upon the work force.
Critically, government needs to recognize that, these days, it is hiring creative class workers and that this group, by and large, will be significantly less hurt by the economic collapse than service sector and blue collar workers:
Unemployment rates among the working class have been more than triple the rate of those in the creative class and about double the rate of those in the service class over the past decade. Service-class unemployment has been about double the creative-class rate and has not diverged from it in the past 20 years.
And look at the last recession in Canada. Unemployment rates among the working class rose to nearly 16 per cent in 1991, while the creative class and service class experienced much more modest increases.
So will there be an uptick in people interested in working for government? Mostly likely. But expect it to be modest. But also remember. those who decide to apply may be motivated by safety and security, not a sense of public duty.
Oh, and one other thing. I’ve had several friends tell me that people who’ve applied for jobs that have had to wait 6, 9 or even 14 months before getting an offer. For those who are really made to wait, by the time they find out they have a job, the recession could be over…