Quote of the week
“Unless a public sector executive knows a great deal about the lifestyles and values of the department’s customers and prospects, it’s difficult to conceive of a successful strategy implementation at all.”
— AustraliaSCAN report
A market research company in Australia, QMR, has launched AustraliaSCAN, a survey that puts “the finger on the lives of adult Australians.” AustraliaSCAN shows a senior public service that runs the risk of becoming isolated from the public it serves.
The survey divides adult Australians into five groups: public executives (4%), private executives (10%), workers (35%), homebodies (31%) and retirees (19%).
So what does it tell us about the 4% who run Australia’s public institutions?
They’re much better educated that other Australians: 61% have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The next highest group are the private executives at 38%; retirees are the third largest at just 9%.
Their household income is the highest overall. They have the lowest percentage of household members who take government benefits at 32%. The highest are homebodies at 80%.
They are the most likely to read a newspaper and at 64% are behind only private executives (66%) when it comes to using the Internet daily or regularly.
Workers (29%) and homebodies (30%) have a low level of confidence in government information. Only 11% of public executives feel the same.
On the plus side, it is reassuring that senior public sector executives are well educated: it bodes well, one assumes, for sensible policymaking and program implementation.
But on the negative side, it points to a privileged public sector senior cadre that has little in common with other segments of the population. The risk, then, is that this group loses touch and becomes increasingly isolated in its bureaucratic towers.