The Public Sector’s Average Time-to-Hire is Three Times as Long as the Private Sector

by NEOGOV on August 19, 2020

EL SEGUNDO, CA – NEOGOV, a market leader in public sector human resources software, announces the release of its 2020 Public Sector Time-to-Hire Report. The research analyzes national, regional, and job categorical data from the prior year to reveal the average time it takes for government agencies and educational institutions to fill open positions.

According to the report, in 2019 the average public sector time-to-hire was 119 days, more than three times the average in the private sector. According to SHRM, the average time-to-fill in the private sector is 36 days, a difference of over two months. 

At a time when public sector vacancies are growing because of retiring baby boomers, there is an urgent need to fill positions with qualified candidates. However, such a significant difference in time-to-hire may mean that government and educational institutions are losing the best candidates to private sector jobs. 

The segment of the public sector with the shortest time-to-hire are state governments, who on average are able to fill an open position in 96 days. It takes longest at the local level where government agencies need an average of 130 days to find a qualified hire. 

As part of the analysis, NEOGOV also looked at how many applicants it takes on average to land one hire for a position. Across all job categories, the public sector needs 25 applicants to land one hire. The number of applicants needed to ensure a strong hire varies depending on the job category. Transportation roles typically only require 9 applicants for one hire, while Accounting roles need an average of 49 candidates per open position. 

“The data in this report is essential for the public sector,” NEOGOV CEO Shane Evangelist said. “With this data, organizations can understand how they measure up to their peer agencies and where changes need to be made in the recruitment process to effectively attract and retain qualified applicants until hire.”

The data in this report is based on an analysis of 8.2 million applicants, over 326,000 hires, and 999 agencies, including special districts, courts, local government, education (K-12 and higher ed), and state government in 2019. Download the 2020 Time-to-Hire Report at


NEOGOV is the leading provider of an integrated HR, payroll, and talent management solution for the public sector. NEOGOV customers report increased employee productivity and engagement, time and cost savings, improved regulatory requirement compliance, and reduced paper processes, with a net result of better services for citizens. Serving over 6,000 organizations, NEOGOV provides intelligent HR for the public sector. More information at