The objective of this research is to describe and discuss trends in HRM practice as they have emerged in public sector organizations undertaking new management reforms over the last two decades. To do this, we reviewed available literature on government HRM practices across countries to identify and assess the degree to which reforms in the period from 1988 to 2008 reflected changes in recruitment, selection, training and development, performance management and compensation approaches used in the private sector. This review finds significant evidence of change in public sector HRM in a number of developed nations, though these are uneven across countries and fields of practices (e.g., compensation, training, etc.). Information on emerging economies is less available, but shows that some developing regions retain traditional patterns. Achieving a strategic perspective on HRM remains a challenge for governments, even in the OECD. Government organizations in developed nations have been adopting HRM practices that draw on private sector experience, yet the use of specific approaches to recruitment, selection, training and so forth may do little to attract and retain qualified people if key strategic issues are not addressed. The principal limitation of this research is the relative lack of cross-country comparisons on the evolution of HRM practices in public organizations. Our study is also admittedly constrained by the degree to which most research has focused on tactical elements rather than the strategic perspective. In many developing countries, HRM in the public sector is still in the "personnel administration" phase and little attention is paid to organizational efficiency or motivation aspects. This article contributes to the field by offering an overview and international perspective on trends in public sector HRM over the last two decades. It also describes impediments to the implementation of Strategic HRM in government organizations.