Resetting for a new era: public and social sector study 2024

Based on insights from almost 400 executives in the sector, the study uncovers a significant shift in the overall outlook and priorities of leaders in the sector, indicating a strategic reset is on the cards. Organisations are live to the intensifying influence of public perception and leaders are looking to build resilience in a new era where talent is essential to the effectiveness of emerging technologies and sustainability expectations are exceeded.

Our research highlights:

  • Executives in the public and social sector are generally optimistic: 58% expect funding to increase in the next financial year, but this is a significant drop from 85% last year.
  • Economic factors, including high inflation and cost of living (27%), and increased demand for services and political change (each 26%) are three of the top external trends impacting organisations most in the coming year. The emergence of new technologies (23%) and scarcity of talent (22%) are also expected to impact organisations significantly and only 25% are confident they’re prepared for this.
  • Meeting demand for services is a potential issue for a quarter of organisations stating they will likely fail to achieve this.
  • Boosting investment of time, money and resource, averaged across all business activities and operations, is expected by 50% of organisations. While maintaining IT and digitising operations are at the top of this list, funding/financing issues or concerns is at the bottom second only to reducing headcount.
  • Scarcity of talent is one of the top five external trends leaders say will impact the sector in the next three to five years, with over half (63%) of executives confirming a difficulty in hiring talented people. Yet, crucially, talent strategy is only positioned at number nine in their strategic priorities for the year ahead.
  • Transformation through IT or emerging technology is the top strategic priority for leaders for the second year running. 79% of public and social sector organisations are already using generative AI in some form and, of those who don’t, 44% say they will in five years’ time. Yet 69% of those already using generative AI in their organisation say they have ethical concerns.
  • Generative AI will not replace people according to 64% of leaders, proving that human skills are still very much valued within such a people-orientated sector.
  • Sustainability responsibilities are a clear focus for sector leaders – 76% of public and social sector executives say they already produce a sustainability report or plan to in the next 12 months. Over 50% of leaders say new regulations would be more effective than internal or external pressure in accelerating reporting.

For more information, download the report.


Public and social sector study 2024

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