25 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Plan for young PS recruits

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The UK Civil Service has announced a plan to hire its first intake of apprentice economists to boost diversity at the heart of Government.

People as young as 17 can apply, with a Grade Six in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) maths and three Cs or equivalent in any subject at Advanced Level required.

The Public Service has struggled in recent years to shift its reputation as a stuffy institution best characterised by the 1980s television series Yes, Minister.

The wider economics profession has also faced sharp criticism of its perceived group-think tendencies and for being too wedded to neoclassical economic models, with particular focus on the way economics is taught at university.

Progress has been made in the Public Service, which is attempting to become the most inclusive employer in the UK by 2020.

The latest available figures show that 53.9 per cent of PS employees are women, while the proportion of ethnic minority and disabled staff is just below that of the national average, at 12 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

It admits that more work is required to boost diversity in some occupations and particular Departments, including the Treasury.

More men than women receive bonuses, while the median gender pay gap is 13.7 per cent.

Any 17-year-olds who apply to become apprentice economists can expect a starting salary in excess of £20,000 (A$36,650), or more than £22,000 (A$40,300) for those in London.

The latest hiring spree is also designed to show the Government is committed to driving up the numbers of young people who start their professional life without having gone to university.

They will join the Government Economic Service, working across various different Departments.

Positions will be based across the country, while those hired will also study on a program delivered in partnership with the University of Kent.

London, 30 September 2018

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