Private to Public

Sam Wilson, January 13, 2016

A marketer who made the jump explains the attraction of moving from a private to a public sector organisation.

I took the plunge recently and moved from my job as marketing manager at a small privately owned IT company with only 18 employees to my first public sector role – a newly-created position as marketing officer at Halton Housing Trust, the largest employer in the borough.


There were a number of reasons for making the switch. I wanted to work in a more inspiring environment, and social housing is currently one of the most challenging industries out there because of the recent welfare changes and rent cuts. I also wanted to make more of a social difference – and with ‘shelter’ (or housing) being one of Maslow’s key physiological needs, the ability to make a difference was clearly apparent. Finally, I was looking to work for a larger organisation where I could grow within a diverse team of marketing and communication professionals.


I had a lot of preconceptions about what the role would be like, with visions of generous benefits such as an extended annual leave scheme – nowhere to be seen in the private sector – and the compassionate flexi-time system.


I did wonder if it would deliver the same drive, agility and commerciality of working within the private sector, especially considering that the business model of the majority of housing associations is built on receiving more than 90% of their income on-time and in full from one ‘customer’ (the government) – a dream for a private sector organisation!


However, I have been pleasantly surprised by both the sector and the organisation I chose to work for. Halton Housing Trust certainly doesn’t have the stereotypical ‘council working mentality’ that you might assume a Housing Association would have. In fact, their culture, dynamism and attitude to work stacks up against many of the leading IT vendors that I’ve had the privilege of working with: IBM, Microsoft and SAP included.


My role as marketing officer is a new one for the Trust, and is centred on the need to extend current revenue streams and develop new ones to help reduce the impact of the recent welfare cuts. The role allows me to bring in classic B2B marketing experience and fuse it with the expertise of our existing comms team to help bring a more competitive and commercial focus to the way we deliver services to all our stakeholders.


I constantly find myself using my knowledge of working in the private sector within my current role, and I would certainly encourage marketing professionals to experience both sides of our economy to develop a truly comprehensive skill set.


Richard Merrick is marketing officer at Halton Housing Trust.

Richard Merrick
Marketing Officer, Halton Housing Trust