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Private sector needs government support to ensure successful transition of public sector workers

10th May, 2011

As the government’s cost cutting measures continue to impact on workers, more needs to be done to support workers through the transition to the private sector, according to a new report launched today. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Hays, the leading recruiting expert, have partnered to produce a report called “The Challenges of transition: from public to private”.

Some 330,000 people are expected to loose their public sector jobs over the next four years. While both sectors have many similarities, the perceptions the sectors have about each other could limit the ability of ex-public sector employees to quickly return to the labour market thereby risking longer term joblessness.

Through this report, which surveyed the views of public sector employees and private employers, the LCCI and Hays have identified six critical steps to ensure the successful transition of the workforce from the public to the private sector:

  1. Encourage better understanding – Coaching, mentoring and peer-support schemes for public sector workers prior to, during and after transition to the private sector should be encouraged. These would increase the retention of new employees and also enable the private sector to identify the skills available in the public sector.
  2. Incentivise the private sector - The government should subsidise recruitment and training costs for private sector employers who hire public sector employees. One option would be to adapt the Redundancy Action Scheme in Wales, which gives employers a contribution to salaries and training if they hire someone who has been made redundant.
  3. Identify regional skills gaps – Local Enterprise Partnerships and recruiters should work with Trade Associations and professional membership bodies to identify the skills shortages that will be created by future job vacancies and look at how former public employees can fill those gaps.
  4. Review on-boarding procedures – Private sector employers should review their onboarding (induction programmes for new employees) in anticipation of recruiting people from the public sector to ensure successful transitions.
  5. Enhance existing support programmes – Public sector employers should be more proactive in their support for workers facing the prospect of redundancy, with practical jobseeking and career planning programmes specifically designed to equip them for the private sector.
  6. Promote self reliance and resourcefulness – Public sector workers should be encouraged to work with recruiting experts who understand both the private and public sector and can provide free advice on CVs, job applications and interviews.

Mark Staniland, Director at Hays said: “As the government cuts begin to take effect there is a growing pressure on the private sector to create new jobs. There is no doubt that public sector employees have many skills in need right across the private sector. However, it is unreasonable to believe that transferring a large proportion of the workforce will not need specialist help to progress smoothly. The government must act now and put provisions in place to support the workers and both sectors need to work together to make sure the skills available are used to their full advantage.”

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of the LCCI said: “We hope this report will make a meaningful contribution to this important debate, which in turn will help get people in to new jobs while giving a shot in the arm to the London and UK economies. In the months to come there will be many talented individuals from the public sector coming on to the job market which is a great opportunity for employers looking to bring in new skills and ideas to their business. There are some common misconceptions that the private and public sectors share about each other, but we are confident with the right support and the right attitude from both employers and employees any perceived differences can be overcome to the benefit of all concerned.”

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About Hays

Hays plc is the leading global specialist recruitment group. It is market leader in the UK and Australia, and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. As at 31 December 2010, the Group employed 7,086 staff operating from 257 offices in 30 countries across 17 specialisms.

For the year ended 30 June 2010:

  • the Group reported net fees of £557.7 million and operating profit before exceptional items of £80.5 million;the Group placed around 50,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 180,000 people into temporary assignments;
  • 26% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 30% in Continental Europe & RoW and 44% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
  • the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees; and
  • Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, USA and the United Kingdom.

About London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital’s largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.

About the survey

The LCCI and Hays each undertook quantitative and qualitative research in the public and private sectors. The quantitative results represent the views (canvassed online) of 1,435 public-sector employees and 348 private sector employers, the majority of which are based in London and the South East.

For further press information please contact:
Claire Fowler
T. 020 7259 8821


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