Gloomy outlook for public sector employment

8 Sep 15

Uncertainty around the forthcoming government Spending Review has led to a fall in the employment outlook for the public sector, with more employers now expected to have to cut posts than to hire for the first time this year.

The public sector employment survey by the ManpowerGroup found that employers were adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach ahead of the government’s spending review. For the first time since the last quarter of 2014, the net employment forecast for the sector has gone into negative territory, at -1%. This means more employers expect to have to cut posts than to hire.

Operations director Nick Heckscher said that, following the general election and the projections for cuts of between 25% and 40% in the forthcoming Spending Review, it was not surprising to see hiring intentions slow.

“Cuts are coming, but for now, no one knows exactly where they will fall or how deep they will be,” he said.

The analysis also warned that reductions could further exacerbate the changes in the age profile of the civil service since 2010. From 2010 to 2014 the proportion of civil service workers aged between 20 and 29 fell from 14% to 9%, whereas the percentage of 50-59 year-olds increased from 26% to 31%.

Heckscher warned that, as recruitment wanes again, there is a risk that increasingly few younger workers will enter the public sector.

“If this trend continues then the sector faces a future without the talent and skills that it needs to cope with the changing nature of work in an increasingly digital world,” he added.

Did you enjoy this article?