I worked for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for three years. It was a real shock to the system when I made the move from the private sector. Not only was it the change in pace, culture and processes that I had to get my head round; it was also the archaic computer systems. It was like going back in time!
One of the major problems I had with the IT system was the fact that so many external websites were banned, including all social media sites. It made my job of researching, building relationships and communicating with the ‘outside world’, that was light years ahead in terms of technology, extremely difficult.
Now I have returned to the fast pace of the commercial sector, I am getting to grips with the social media tools that you all have probably been using for the past five+ years! Just from using Twitter and LinkedIn over the last three months I can certainly see their benefits for building up invaluable networks, enhancing my professional reputation, gaining useful information and also searching for jobs (if I needed to!). This got me thinking.
If I hadn’t had made the jump back to the private sector, I would probably not have experienced social media at its best, built up the networks I have and caught up with other technological advancements. So what hope do the 25,000 MOD civil servants have whose posts are to be cut over the next four years? The 25,000 who have probably been employed in Defence since leaving school, who may only be au fait with the IT systems they use in their role. How are they really going to prepare themselves, and make the most out of social media when looking for a new job if they have never experienced it in a professional context, or fully understood its capabilities? How will they know how to use it to its full potential to truly promote themselves, and find the best job that matches their skills and experience?
Do you think that the MOD should be doing something for their loyal employees whose posts are being cut? Should they give something back by training staff in the art of social media, which will set them up for the move to the private sector, and give them a better chance of being employed? Or should they do nothing?
What do you think? Are MOD civil servants losing out?