Traditionally the UK’s public and private sectors were seen as two completely different breeds of business, the first heavily hindered by red tape but without the need to act as a ‘business’, the second, cut throat and based heavily around targets.
In recent years, the public sector has been moving towards operating more like private sector businesses, yet it seems there is one noticeable difference between the two; absence rates.
A recent report conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that public sector employees have on average 9 days off sick, 55% higher than employees within the private sector (5.8 days). What is more worrying is that the report found 1 in 10 employers believe that they are not genuine and often used to extend weekends or take advantage of nice weather.
In 2007, 172 million working days were lost, which cost UK taxpayers £13.2bn; this could have been spent on hospitals and schools. It is estimated that if the public sector improved absence rates it would save £1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money.
The report also highlighted that long-term absence was a growing concern as 5% of all absence resulted in long-term sickness, which cost £5.3bn and accounts for 40% of loss of time.
It is clear that this situation needs to be addressed and Susan Anderson, CBI Director of HR Policy, said “We really have to question if there is a medical explanation for the higher levels of long-term absence in the public sector. Low morale, poor management and a culture of absence are at least partly to blame.”
Righttrack Consultancy, a learning and development specialist with over 20 years’ experience, has seen a steady increase in the number of public sector organisations looking for learning and development in a wide range of topics, such as management, leadership and equality and diversity.
The main reason for this increase is the benefits development brings such as increased morale levels, stronger loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency, all of which have huge benefits to any organisation.
Kasmin Cooney, Righttrack’s Managing Director says, “The pressure on public sector organisations to behave more like their private sector counterparts is constantly growing and so many are looking to increase the investment in their employees’ skills, which, as we all know, makes perfect sense.”
“In a time of uncertainty ensuring that staff are motivated, healthy and happy in their roles has never been more important and learning and development has proved to be a key tool in addressing these needs.”
This mentality of pulling ‘sickys’ is not going to be resolved over night, however the quicker this changes the better for everyone.
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About Righttrack Consultancy:
Right Track Consultancy Ltd was formed in 1988, and has its head office in Worcestershire. Righttrack is a leading learning and development consultancy that design and deliver innovative and engaging training solutions to organisations all over the world. The range of services that Righttrack provide covers a broad spectrum and includes bespoke and ready-to-run training, sales solutions, ILM programmes, organisational development, e-learning and coaching.
Righttrack work with clients of all sizes across all industry sectors, including Mercedes Benz, Gucci, Somerfield, Littlewoods Shop Direct Group, Metropolitan Police and The North East Ambulance Service. More information can be found on www.righttrackconsultancy.co.uk
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