The definitive proof of private sector superiority
From Dear Lucy in yesterday’s FT
“I’m dreadfully bored and depressed in my job. I work for a big bank as a portfolio manager, and have nothing to do. I tried starting new projects but have been discouraged by management. So I spend my time writing a script and studying but the fact that I have about 10 hours of work a week is killing me.”
Portfolio manager, male, 28
Of course this doesn’t prove anything. There’s both rubbish and brilliant management in private and public sectors. But the belief that private sector management is inherently superior is surprisingly widespread, even though UK management is generally weak.
I’ve always thought that public sector management is inherently more difficult than private sector management as at least in the private sector there is the clear and over-riding impetus to be profitable. Good management is never easy, but public sector managers have much more complicated objectives, and attempts to impose private sector disciplines such as top-down targets can’t get round this.