Recruiting University Graduates for the Public Sector: An Australian Case Study

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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether disciplinary background and work experience significantly influence university students' views on working and preferences for organisations and work attributes.Design/methodology/approach – The data were collected by a questionnaire. This paper briefly reviews the literature of Australian public sector reforms and the impact on the public sector as a potential employment location. The work values of young workers are subsequently presented, including the influence of disciplinary background and work experience on these values.Findings – The respondents' disciplinary background, and to a smaller extent, work experience were found to significantly affect their views on working and preferences for organisations and work attributes.Research limitations/implications – Sample size was small and derived from one university. More research should be carried out on students from other Australian universities before any generalisation can be made with any degree of confidence. Future research can also examine the reasons behind the traits uncovered among the younger generation for a better understanding of their motives and views.Practical implications – The study shows the importance of effective recruitment strategies for attracting university students to the public sector, communicating the opportunities offered and minimising any misconceptions about the image of public service. The presence of a public service ethic among respondents who were favourably predisposed to public service may suggest that this attribute could be leveraged to the government's advantage during recruitment.Originality/value – Although money may not be a primary factor that drew the respondents who displayed the public service ethic trait to government service, they did not in any way disregard the importance of salary as a motivator. Recruiters should therefore not overlook or downplay the significance of a fair salary. A useful source for HR managers who are contemplating improvement in their recruitment strategies, with an emphasis on those aimed at university graduates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)514-533
    JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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