New HR Survey Findings Point to A Worsening Public Sector Hiring Crisis

Press Release from NEOGOV

Unprecedented number of job openings remain unfilled and 20 percent of state and local government agencies have reduced services due to staffing shortages

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- With many organizations already struggling with hiring shortages, new survey findings released today from NEOGOV, a market leader in public sector employee lifecycle management, titled "The Quiet Crisis in the Public Sector," shine a light on the dramatic decrease in the number of job applicants in the public sector.

The report points to a 56% drop in applications per open job from 2021 to 2022. About a quarter of all current public sector job postings are getting seven applications or fewer. As a result, nearly 20% of state and local government agencies have reduced services due to staffing shortages. If this trend continues over the next quarter, over 40% of public sector agencies expect to cut services to the public.

"In today's hyper-competitive job market, the public sector faces some of the most significant hiring challenges of any segment. We wanted to do a deep dive into HR directors and job seekers' most pressing issues. The survey results indicate how organizations are coping with the public sector hiring crisis, the wide-ranging and severe consequences of unfilled job openings, and reveals key strategies to help organizations overcome these challenges in today's new normal," said Shane Evangelist, CEO of NEOGOV.

The report, based on data from NEOGOV's jobs site, examines the opportunities and challenges of 299 public sector HR professionals and provides valuable insights from 609 survey respondents who applied to public sector positions via in 2019 or later.

Key findings include:

HR Survey Results

  • There is a growing gap between job openings and job applications. 80% of those surveyed responded the number of job openings is higher than an average year.
  • Of those surveyed, 217 cited voluntary turnover as the number one driver of increased job openings. An inability to fill jobs over time and retirement are also having a significant impact. 76% of voluntary employee turnover was directly related to pay, with employees citing salary as the main reason for their exit. Opportunities in the private sector, opportunities in the nonprofit sector, the option for remote work, and greater work flexibility remain the other most significant reasons employees are departing the public sector.
  • 79% of agencies cannot currently find qualified candidates for open positions, providing a clear answer from a competitive job market.
  • 61% of agencies of public sector HR directors reported law enforcement as having the most difficulties with recruitment.

Applicant Survey Results

  • 60% of respondents cited benefits as the primary reason to work in the public sector. Benefits far outweighed salary and stability when they responded to what attracted them most about public sector work.
  • Transparency and clarity remain critical elements for public sector HR teams to maintain as in recruitment. 55% reported an appreciation for the clarity of requirements, the clear delineation of the process, and clear salary expectations.
  • Survey respondents voiced the need for a more timely application process, the option for an online application, and better communication throughout the hiring process. 70% of respondees to an open-ended question listed process, communication, and timeliness as extremely important.

Solutions for a New Normal

  • Traditionally, the public sector has maintained a less flexible approach to work. But the needle is moving toward a more adaptable work environment. Of 241 respondents, 69% of organizations are changing job conditions to fill job postings. 41% are reducing the minimum qualifications for their jobs to attract more candidates, and 30% have expanded remote work options.
  • In addition to making public sector jobs more attractive to applicants, today's job market requires new methods for finding and recruiting candidates. Online job boards, digital ads, and social media are helpful new tools. Public sector HR directors able to speed up the hiring process will give themselves a significant competitive advantage. Conducting interviews virtually and providing a quicker turnaround time from application to offer are strategies agencies should consider.

The full report can be viewed here.

Founded in 2000, NEOGOV provides market-leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to automate and streamline the employee lifecycle for state and local governments, serving more than 7,000 organizations. For more information, visit

About NEOGOV NEOGOV, a Carlyle and Warburg Pincus portfolio company, serving over 7,000 organizations, is the leading provider of an integrated HR, payroll, talent management and policy and compliance management solution for the public sector. NEOGOV customers report increased employee productivity and engagement, time and cost savings, improved regulatory requirement compliance, and reduced paper processes, with a net result of better services for citizens. More information at and

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Media Contact

Brianna Swales, For NEOGOV, 1 407.924.4497,


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