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Public sector employment levels due to fall

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Employment levels in the public sector are expected to fall over the next six months, compared to continued rises in the private sector.

The latest findings from the Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI), produced by Cranfield School of Management, reveal that 89 per cent of public sector organisations expect their employment levels to either fall or remain at the same level over the next six months, compared to only 55 per cent of private sector organisations.

Similarly, 85 per cent of public sector organisations expect their recruitment activity to drop or stay the same compared to 60 per cent of private sector organisations.

This is the first fall in public sector employment levels predicted since the Gershon Review in 2004 which recommended savings of £21 billion over four years, including the loss of 80,000 civil service jobs.

Professor Shaun Tyson, emeritus professor of human resource management at Cranfield School of Management, said: “The findings reflect the more stringent environment faced by the public sector, where the many years of expansion have come to an end. The focus now is upon leveraging value for money rather than extensive recruitment.”

Emma Parry, research fellow at Cranfield School of Management said: “The recruitment marketplace has appeared positive for some time now with the private sector, and particularly service sector organisations, recruiting workers.

“This quarter we can see a stark contrast between the still buoyant picture in the private sector and the apparent cutbacks in the public sector which may be the first indicator that the implications of the 2004 review are filtering through.

“A drop in public sector recruitment activity and employment levels now being predicted is an inevitable consequence of such policies.”

The latest RCI findings also show that:


  • 80 per cent of respondents are expecting to experience recruitment difficulties

  • Recruitment difficulties were expected to be significantly higher in the private sector (83 per cent of organisations) than in the public sector (69 per cent)

  • Recruitment difficulties were expected to be highest when recruiting for engineering (61 per cent of organisations) and IT skills (50 per cent).


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