Public Sector Time-to-Hire is 3x as Long as the Private Sector

by NEOGOV on August 19, 2020

Learn the results of NEOGOV's 2020 Public Sector Time-to-Hire Report – and what they mean for public sector recruitment in today's job market.

Article Highlights: 

NEOGOV, a market leader in public sector human resources software, released its 2020 Public Sector Time-to-Hire Report containing staggering insights on public sector recruitment. The research analyzes national, regional, and job categorical data to reveal the average time it takes government agencies and educational institutions to fill open positions.

Let's dive into the report findings and how they affect public sector hiring success in today's competitive job market.

The Time-to-Hire Report Findings

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

State governments in the public sector have the shortest time-to-hire, filling open positions in 96 days, on average. The local level takes the longest, where government agencies need an average of 130 days to find a qualified hire. 

As part of the analysis, NEOGOV also looked at the average number of applicants it takes 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 nine applicants for one hire, while accounting roles need an average of 49 candidates per open position. 

The Impact of Longer Time-to-Hire for the Public Sector

With public sector vacancies growing as a result 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 data in this report is essential for the public sector,” said NEOGOV CEO Shane Evangelist. “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 report data is based on a 2019 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.

Click to download the 2020 Time-to-Hire Report today.

Final Thoughts

The discrepancy in time-to-hire between the public and private sectors shows how important it is that public organizations take steps to overcome recruitment challenges. In doing so, public sector agencies can begin to reduce their time-to-hire and be more competitive in today's job market.

Keep reading on our blog to learn how you can automate your recruitment process to improve your public sector or educational organization's recruiting strategy.


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 7,000 organizations, NEOGOV provides intelligent HR for the public sector. More information at

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