In the past couple of years, workforces, the economy, and societies worldwide have been hit with a plethora of unimaginable challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many people found themselves unemployed and vulnerable. There was a shift that saw people transition from office-based work to working from home, which is an aspect of life that is set to become “normal.” Alongside these enormous problems, technology has advanced quicker than ever before and is making its way into every part of society.
Unfortunately, this means that the public sector, including governments, has faced the impossible task of attempting to meet societal demands and jump into the digital age. With this in mind, we will guide you through the trends you will see taking hold within the public sector.
What Is The Public Sector
For those of you that got this far and don’t know what the public sector is, you’ve come to the right place. The public sector refers to an area of the economy controlled by the state.
Jobs in the public sector include public education, police, infrastructure, and health. Anything that is controlled by the government for the benefit of the public is counted as the public sector. Worldwide, the public sector makes up 33% of the workforce.
If you are interested in picking apart the public sector and finding employment within it, you should complete an online Masters in Public Policy and Leadership from Pepperdine.
The following trends are aspects of the master’s that you are likely to study.
1. Working From Home Will Continue
The pandemic closed down offices and forced people to work from home. This led to new ways of collaborating and achieving the same tasks.
People found that working from home provided them with a more nourishing way of life because they didn’t have to commute and they got more time to spend with their families. As well as having personal benefits, different departments reported an increase in productivity. Many reports suggest that working from home, or at least hybrid working, is here to stay.
Working has returned to the office for many people despite the mass desire to work from home, even on a hybrid scale. With this in mind, the public sector needs to consider adopting the hybrid approach in an attempt to strike a balance.
If departments within the public sector fail to meet the needs of their employees, they will find themselves with a high exit rate; people will simply leave the public sector in favour of private businesses that cater.
2. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Will Become Crucial
Within the next seven years, 72 per cent of the entire global workforce will be people from the Gen-Z and Millennial populations. As you may know, people from these generations are heavily focused on changes to environmental and societal processes. Therefore, they expect a great deal more in terms of pro-activity from employers.
With this in mind, ESG will continue to be a driving condition for stakeholders and investors. Governmental departments must make a move to offer 100 per cent transparency that shines a light on accountability.
Within the public sector, there is an enormous amount of power. The government can create policies that will impact businesses across the board. They can manage organizations to ensure that the shared goal of protecting the planet is central.
Based on the math in the previous paragraph, governments and businesses have until 2029 to ensure that their policies reflect ESG transparency.
3. The Future of Data Handling
Currently, there is an enormous focus on the way data is stored and whether it is shared with external parties. The primary idea is to give control to the public instead of corporations.
However, when it comes to governmental bodies, the global pandemic has outlined the need to share data between multiple agencies. This means that data controllers will shift from “owning” data to externally accessing it from within each department. Doing this will allow those within the public sector to see accurate data in real-time, which will allow a better service to be provided.
The issue faced when it comes to multi-agency data sharing is the consent of the public. This is where Open Government Data (OGD) comes into practice. The philosophy, and now policy, dictates that government information will be open and available to all.
This is said to boost transparency and improve bottom-line effectiveness. For example, throughout the pandemic, different bodies were able to access data, which sped up the vaccine program.
4. Innovative Government Hubs
The public sector has been forced to use innovation to grow, which has led to ground-breaking methods of using technology for good. On the back of these successes, the public sector will grow in confidence and become entrepreneurial. Governments need to use their powers for the good of communities.
In 2022, the world is recovering from two years’ worth of economic damage caused by the global pandemic. This means that governments need to use their newfound innovative confidence to help communities recover.
They need to show people that technology and data collection can be a force for good, which will eventually help them get back on top. If the public sector can achieve this goal, the public will look to them for technological innovation.
5. Artificial Intelligence Will Bring Policy Closer To People
The creation of smooth processes between governmental bodies comes with an extremely high cost and takes a considerable amount of time.
This process takes even longer when you take into account that each departmental team has its own methods of achieving the same goal. To offset these issues, machine learning and artificial intelligence are being used.
AI is capable of completing low-priority and repetitive tasks, which allows human teams to focus on the important work at a higher level. This is especially useful to public sector organizations that are involved in the rapidly evolving needs of businesses.
Although technology is being adopted rapidly throughout the public sector, the people need to be kept at the heart of their processes. Therefore, when rolling out AI processes, there needs to be a rigorous testing process to ensure that any bias is eliminated.
To get this task done, governments need to hold as much information as possible about the communities they are trying to help. If they have misinformation, to begin with, the technology won’t be effective in its work.
6. Continued Cloud Adoption
The global pandemic has forced society to adopt the way technology is used. As a direct result, the widescale adoption of cloud-based tech was sped up exponentially.
Cloud tech allows services to benefit the end-user more efficiently while increasing productivity in each workplace. If you take a look at the pandemic response services that were rapidly deployed, you will see how fast cloud services took over.
As a result of the unprecedented pressures brought on by the pandemic, there was no clearly defined path laid out for cloud adoption. To an extent, the speed up in the process highlighted the fact that there is no correct method of reaching cloud adoption.
Each sector will need to assess its needs for cloud services alongside its data. Only after doing this will a roadmap become obvious. There are many different ways to reach the end goal, including public, private, multi, and hybrid.
7. Increases In Cybercrime Defences
We can’t talk about digital transformation and changes within the public sector without mentioning cybercrime defences. Like many other aspects of society, the rate of sophisticated cybercrime was exacerbated by the global pandemic. Vulnerable people are being targeted using increasingly technical methods.
Interestingly, one of the most common incidents that governments face comes from infrastructure attacks. In particular, hospitals reported a significant rise in hacking attacks.
Given the rise in cybercrime, it goes without saying that tackling it has become one of the government’s top priorities. Spending on the matter has increased by at least 70 per cent, and governments are working in unison to complete the task. For example, INTERPOL and the UK Government have set up cybercrime hubs in Africa that support Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Ghana.
Throughout 2022, investment and collaboration between global governments and bodies are set to continue to increase. This is an essential part of public policy that can’t afford to slow down; cybercriminals are constantly advancing their methods.
8. Social Contracts for Trust
Citizens worldwide are becoming increasingly sceptical of how governments and businesses are using their data, especially since the introduction of new technologies.
Therefore, governments need to earn public trust; technical advances and rollouts will be heavily opposed if they don’t. Unfortunately, if trust isn’t established, the EU will have zero hope of reaching its 2030 digital targets, and it will have a considerable knock-on effect.
Currently, governments are working with responsible AI tech (AI that is used for good). Over the next three years, 70 per cent of government CIOs plan to roll out responsible AI. If this happens, there is hope for the trust above being built. As well as rolling out responsible AI, there is talk of social contracts being used to increase trust.
In these contracts, transparency on how much technology will serve society would be outlined. Digital trust through social contracts would be a great way of allowing people to feel like they are more in control of their data. This is because they will be a central part of the formation of policies designed for the governance of technology.
9. The Rise of Carbon-Neutral Governments
We’ve mentioned previously that the world is focused now, more than ever before, on protecting the environment. This is why 2022 is predicted to be the first year that we see a net-zero government.
Net-zero refers to the eradication of greenhouse gasses and is often referred to as “carbon-neutral.” To do this, departments within the public sector search for ways of reducing emissions or absorbing them from the atmosphere. The achievement of net-zero will take a long time, with many governments setting targets for 2045 as the end result.
To achieve net-zero, goals need to be adopted across an entire country and within each sector. Then, these goals need to be transformed into swift actions. Countries with readily available access to renewable energy sources are going to achieve carbon neutrality first.
The first country across the finish line is estimated to be a small country with limited military activity. As governments move closer to net-zero, businesses will be forced to adapt their policies to retain governmental contracts.
10. Digital Transformation Through Employee Experiences
We live in a world where people can become successful from the comfort of a home office. This means that employees need to be provided with the tools necessary to collaborate no matter where they are.
As mentioned previously, the complete digital landscape we are living in today isn’t going anywhere. According to Forrester, one-third of public sector jobs will eventually be 100 per cent home or hybrid. The only way to move further into the digital age is to take on board the voice of employees. When the employee experience is made right, the end-user being supported will benefit the greatest.
To get the digital transformation correct, there is a great expectation that HR departments within the public sector will press forward to automate their process, including provision, onboarding, and employee relations.
Alongside reforms in the HR departments, governments worldwide need to be open to using new technologies in an attempt to build an inclusive culture and consistently provide improvement opportunities. The only way the public sector can reach digital transformation is by revolutionizing employee life cycles.
The public sector is seeing rapid changes taking place, which have been sped up by external pressures, including the global pandemic. One of the major trends the public sector will face in 2022 is the advancement and adoption of technological practices. In particular, the government needs to liaise with its people to formulate agreements around data sharing.
The next set of trends is much to do with the rise of the Gen-Z/millennial populations and their shift in priorities regarding the environment. Only time will tell how the world governments will navigate these rocky seas.
Public Sector Trends 2022
Here are some of the public sector trends transforming governments across the world at a fast rate:
- Working From Home Will Continue.
- Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Will Become Crucial.
- The Future of Data Handling.
- Innovative Government Hubs.
- Artificial Intelligence Will Bring Policy Closer To People.
- Continued Cloud Adoption.
- Increases In Cybercrime Defences.
- Social Contracts for Trust.
- The Rise of Carbon-Neutral Governments.
- Digital Transformation Through Employee Experiences.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.