Over half of civil servants say their skills aren’t fully utilised

Over half of all civil servants do not believe that their skills are being fully utilised, according to exclusive research conducted by CSW.

By Joshua.Chambers

30 May 2012

A survey of 1,232 civil servants, conducted in conjunction with HR services company Kenexa, asked to what extent they agree with the statement: “I feel that my current skill set is fully utilised at present.”


In response, 58 per cent said they “somewhat” or “totally” disagree, while 31 per cent said that they somewhat or totally agree (see right).

The figures show a clear split between senior and junior grades. Within the senior civil service and grades 6 and 7, 42 per cent agree that their skills are fully utilised, while 45 per cent disagree. Within all other grades, only 27 per cent agree, while 62 per cent disagree.

The findings suggest that the problem may have arisen because departments aren’t properly assessing skills. When asked: “Is your department assessing individuals’ skills and applying them effectively to resourcing requirements?”, 50 per cent said “no”, while 29 per cent said “yes” and 20 per cent “don’t know”.

Lesley Briant, a client partner at Kenexa, said that the civil service is “very rigorous at looking for skills when bringing people into the civil service, but once they get people in, their skills are not tracked.”

CSW also gathered views on how easily officials can move around their department. Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said that “people should be able to move around more easily within the service.”

Asked how often their department “rotates civil servants between directorates and teams”, 12 per cent of civil servants replied “frequently”, 30 per cent “sometimes”, 33 per cent “seldom”, and 26 per cent said “my department does not rotate civil servants”.

Asked about their access to secondments to other parts of the civil service, 13 per cent said “my department actively promotes and encourages us to go on secondments to other departments”, 48 per cent said “my department allows civil servants to go on secondments but does not encourage it”, 16 per cent said “my department would discourage me from going on secondment”, and 9 per cent said “my department would not allow me to go on secondment”.

Meanwhile, nearly half of all civil servants – 49 per cent – answered “yes” to the question: “Would talent management in the civil service be better if civil servants were managed and placed centrally rather than by departments?” Only 28 per cent said “no”, and 23 per cent “don’t know”.

Of the senior grades, 45 per cent said “yes”, 37 per cent “no”, and 18 per cent “don’t know”. In other grades, 51 per cent said “yes”, 24 per cent “no”, and a quarter “don’t know”.

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