The global public sector will transform itself -- and society -- in 2022

Major economic and social trends will reverberate throughout the world's economy.

As government goes, so goes the world. After all, the public sector employs about 33% of the global workforce, and its expenditures account for about 30% of global GDP

In 2022, the global public sector will respond to major economic and social trends -- such as concerns about the future of the workplace and the economy, climate change, and digital privacy -- with actions that reverberate throughout the world's economy. In brief, we predict that:

  • One-third of global civil servants will become permanent hybrid workers. Implementation of hybrid work will vary by employee role, department type, and geography. Public-sector knowledge workers will benefit the most. Departments that fail to adopt a hybrid work model for employees in the most sought-after roles will experience a brain drain as their best employees leave for other public or private-sector organizations. 

  • Ten percent of government administrative workload will be automated. Globally, governments will expand their use of robotic process automation (RPA) to eliminate repetitive, low-value tasks. Not all public-sector RPA implementations will go smoothly, though. Many organizations will wrestle with change management, reallocation of work, and efforts to standardize tasks. Automation centers of excellence will help departments overcome these hurdles by bridging strategy, operations, and training to reduce organizational friction. 

  • We'll see the first carbon-neutral national government in a developed country. The first government to achieve it will be in a smaller country with modest military operations, developed renewable energy sources, and aggressive national net-zero goals backed by tangible action. All governments that pursue carbon neutrality in their own operations will beget more sustainable economies, as companies make their own business practices greener in order to remain eligible for government contracts. 

  • At least five more governments will adopt Zero Trust to revive public trust in digital services. Although these policies will pertain only to national government organizations, companies in government supply chains will have to implement Zero Trust, too. Governments hope the visible indicators of better cybersecurity within their ecosystems that result will stabilize the public's trust in digital government services. These indicators won't be enough to boost that trust, however. 

  • Anemic government IT will account for failure to spend 20% of stimulus funds globally. To help deliver on post-COVID-19 recovery programs, governments like those in the US and China are allocating funds to help their own IT organizations become more future fit. Two key hurdles, however, prevent government IT orgs from spending funds like these effectively: 1) IT shops' low risk tolerance in the face of audits and scrutiny from oversight bodies, which IT staff perceive hinder the adoption of modern technology practices and 2) politically charged technology prohibitions and requirements, which IT staff perceive to constrain tech procurement. 

Learn more about Forrester's predictions here

This post was written by VP, Principal Analyst Rick Parrish and it originally appeared here