Signs of stress in the public sector

Oct 15 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The UK job market is relatively stable, according to the latest Reed Quarterly Recruitment Index. But while overall demand is holding steady, the publishing and media sectors look set for further contraction and the first signs have appeared of a slow-down in the public sector.

The survey suggests that fewer organisations are planning to downsize in the wake of recent stock market falls than immediately following the events of September 11th last year. The number of companies planning to downsize over the Fourth Quarter fell from 10 per cent in 2001 to 7 per cent this year.

Overall, the job market remains stable with 48 per cent of organisations recruiting to replace staff and a third of organisations planning to recruit to grow. As a result, the overall recruitment demand has fallen by just 1 percentage point from last Quarter, when the proportion of organisations planning to recruit to grow was 34 per cent.

Redundancies are predicted to be slightly higher in services and the public sector. The worst hit sector, following the advertising downturn, has been publishing and media where downsizing is predicted to affect 13 per cent of organisations.

Eight per cent of public sector organisations also plan to downsize in the next quarter, a rise of two per cent on the same time last year.

Katy Nicholson of Reed suggested that organisational change in the public sector could be responsible for this decrease

“Last year, while the whole economy stood at 10 per cent looking to downsize, the public sector stood at six per cent. This year the whole economy has fallen to seven per cent while the public sector has grown to eight per cent.

”It is difficult to say why this is happening but restructuring that is being placed on the sector by the Government is a contributing factor. However, its recruitment levels are still high even if some shrinkage is taking place,” she said.

812 organisations were surveyed in September by Reed. 39 per cent were small organisations of up to 100 staff, 37 per cent medium sized with 101 – 1000 employees and 21 per cent were large organisations with over 1000 staff. Four per cent did not state their size.

Reed, the UK’s leading recruitment group, offers a combination of on and offline services with over 250 branches and 2000 specialist consultants across the UK and Ireland, fully integrated with, the job site that attracts more than half a million unique visitors a month.

For Press enquiries contact Katy Nicholson on 020 7313 7461, [email protected], or Tim Runacre on 020 7313 7458.