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Recession as a window of opportunity for public sector recruitment

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This article addresses the challenge of attracting high-quality workers to the public sector despite inter-sector pay discrepancies that often favor private sector employment. We argue that economic downturns offer a rare window of opportunity for the public sector to recruit high-quality workers that under normal conditions would prefer the higher monetary rewards of the private to the public sector. In deep economic downturns unemployment rises and with it work-related uncertainty. Under such circumstances, the attractiveness of public sector work increases and the public sector can choose talent from a wider and deeper pool than is normally the case. To illustrate, we present an Israeli teachers' recruitment program that developed on the backdrop of the 2008 global crisis. We also discuss how the Great Depression created the American public sector leadership for years to come.
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Keywords: creative destruction; public sector; recession; recruitment; workforce quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Graduate Center, Department of Political Science, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA 2: Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Publication date: March 4, 2014

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