The sudden outbreak of the global pandemic dealt a massive blow to the public sector. Responding to the initial spread of the virus was slow, which highlighted the severe lack of personnel in various key areas. From the councils that manage social services to the nursing workforce, these are some sectors in dire need.
Now, the discovery and development of a vaccine have given everyone new hope. The UK was one of the first countries to administer vaccines to the general population. This has prompted the world’s slow road towards recovery towards post-pandemic operations.
The efforts of workers in the public sector should not go unnoticed. During the previous year, they were the ones who held the front lines. Risking their own lives to combat the unexpected global pandemic. However, it’s difficult to ignore that more and more vacancies are popping up for these jobs.
The numbers of public workers have been steadily declining in the past years leading up to the outbreak. This is one of the primary reasons why the National Government initiated a recruitment drive amidst the pandemic.
Now, more than ever, the public sector is in urgent need of help. The role that they are playing and will continue to play is a vital one. The Government’s attempt to boost the public sector in 2020 was admirable and somewhat successful.
The Government also introduced multiple well-being schemes for the front liners to provide emotional support during trying times. Quite recently, the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his commitment to uplift the public sector.
Here are some key front-line positions and the most recent figures to provide deeper context into the public workers’ current state.
National Health Service
Before the global pandemic outbreak, there were approximately 44,000 nursing vacancies across the NHS in 2019. This amounted to 12% of the general nursing workforce in the country. Under the recruitment drive in 2020, it was observed that 5,611 places for healthcare courses were allocated at universities around England as support for the NHS.
Recently, the Department of Health and Social Care released hopeful figures. The number of NHS nurses in England rose to a record-high of 299,184. This constitutes an increase of 13,313 from the previous year. The number of doctors also rose to 122,446.
The role that teachers play within the public sector is often overlooked. Given the current situation of kids being sheltered-in-place and online schooling becoming more common, this fact is all the more relevant. Regardless, these public workers still need to be provided due support.
It was observed that in 2020, amidst the global pandemic, around 41,000 new trainees were recruited. This is a substantial increase, especially in light of the circumstances. The Government also announced the biggest pay rise for the profession earlier this year, which is sure to boost this sector further.
Police, Probation, and Prison Officers
Within the 8-year span of March 2010 to March 2018, the number of police forces in England and Wales dropped by a staggering 15%. This amounts to the loss of approximately 22,000 officers. In 2020, the Government aimed to increase the workforce by 29%.
The primary goal was to recruit 20,000 officers over a three-year period. It’s been revealed that the Government has already recruited around 6,000 new police officers, 1,760 prison officers, and 443 probation officers.
These are all in hopes of reducing each officer’s caseload to a more manageable level. The Government also announced that the pay of police and prison staff would rise by 2.5%.
Building A Better Tomorrow
Prioritizing the public sector and encouraging public workers is crucial in aiming to make a firm foundation for post-pandemic reconstruction. As the COVID-induced nightmare slowly begins to unfold, it’s best to prepare for what will come next as early as possible.
This includes ramping up these key roles at the front lines. The PM is calling on professionals looking for jobs or a career change to consider getting into the public sector. It will provide an appropriate opportunity to be a driving factor for change.
While the Government has made good progress in boosting the public sector, it is still looking to revitalize its campaign efforts to fill in these posts’ vacancies. More comprehensive and generous Government schemes may also be introduced in the coming months to help realize this goal.
Facing such an unprecedented event like the global pandemic was surely a challenge. It was not easy, by any means. Now that the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, everybody is expected to do their own parts within their own community. The move to achieving a better post-pandemic world has already begun.