What will motivate the next generation of public servants?

Published On: February 25, 2022

Public and private sector leaders from across California met on Feb. 22 in Sacramento to share ideas and network at Government Innovation California, a one-day event put on by Public Sector Network. 

The event featured presentations from over 50 speakers, including several panel discussions, one of which discussed the ways the public sector can reach out and recruit from upcoming generations.

The panel, titled “Developing the Next Generation of Public Sector Workforce,” was moderated by Rebecca Friedman, founder and president of Koru Strategies.

Three panelists, Brendan Murphy, Chief of Administration for CalHR, Jennifer Carver, Deputy Director for FiSCal, and Jaclyn Padilla, Deputy Director of Human Resources at California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, tackled a few pressing issues regarding the future generation of public sector workers.

Friedman posed a basic question: “Will future public service workers be interested in performing meaningful work with tangible evidence of social responsibility and impact?”

Jennifer Carver made salient points about the importance of branding the public sector as a way to give back to Californians directly, appealing to Gen Z’s (generalized) sense of social responsibility. 

Furthermore, being digital natives, the up-and-comers have a quicker learning curve in technological pursuits.

“[Gen Z] has IT in their blood,” Carver said.

Despite being a late fill-in to the panel, Brendan Murphy shared his off-the-cuff insight on the younger generation.

“Their sense of purpose is driving them regardless of what venue they’re looking at,” Murphy said. 

Because of the wide breadth of agencies and departments to choose from, it’s easy to find an appealing niche in the public sector. 

“Your sense of purpose can be found here,” Murphy added.

Recruitment is still a challenge, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. That said, advancements in the way of virtual job fairs and target recruitment via data has bridged the divide in recent years.

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org