UK public sector continuing to hire at will

Aug 22 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

The British public sector is continuing to expand at a rate of knots, despite Government pledges to slash civil service jobs and make huge cost savings.

Analysis by recruitment agency Manpower found that the balance of public sector employers saying they would be looking to take on more staff during August and September had stayed at +15 per cent for the second successive quarter.

The figures are unlikely to dampen criticism that the public sector has become bloated or that predictions by ministers of achieving billions of pounds of savings from cutting "back room" positions are unrealistic.

The Manpower statistics meant that not only was recruitment extremely stable in the public sector, but in fact indicated that it was far higher than in many parts of the private sector, including the service sector and manufacturing, as well as being above the national average of 12 per cent, said the agency.

Manpower business manager Chris Cox said: "At the moment, when you think of public sector recruitment, you think of job cuts in the civil service.

"However, a look at the big picture shows that public sector recruitment remains buoyant."

A pattern of recruitment was emerging, as well. "This is partly due to the movement of civil service jobs away from London, the NHS's need for doctors and nurses and also the continuing demand for staff in areas such as local government," said Cox.

"Even in London, where there have been job cuts in central government, we have seen increased demand for temporary staff," he added.

Even though the fact public sector bodies were still hiring was a positive sign, employers were warned they still needed closely to monitor their recruitment and retention strategies to ensure they attracted and held onto the right people, Cox stressed.

"Whilst salary and benefits are important, so are things such as career opportunities, work-life balance initiatives, training and development," he said.