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Public sector job cuts will damage frontline service delivery

25 May, 2011

The public sector is facing a critical loss of employees, with almost half (45%) of staff in the sector facing redundancy or actively seeking work in the private sector, according to new research published today by Hays, the leading recruiting expert. Although the public sector is faced with the need to make cuts, pay, career development and job security are all seen to be better in the private sector, resulting in a severe skills loss, which will impact on its ability to deliver frontline services effectively.

The Hays Public Sector Survey 2011 finds that some public sector employers are struggling to recruit staff with the right skills to manage frontline services. Since the Comprehensive Spending Review 18% of employers say it is harder to attract skilled job candidates. Over 80% of employers say uncertainty around job security is the primary factor stopping people looking for work in the sector, followed by changes to benefits (51%) and scrutiny over pay (39%).

Furthermore, headcount reduction schemes and cuts may be draining the public sector of its most vauable employees. 60% of employers and the same level of workers believe voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes are resulting in the loss of the best talent. Over 60% of staff say they fear the sector will be unable to attract the staff needed to manage the transformation and change ahead.

Andy Robling, Public Services Director of Hays, says: “With such a widespread exodus of staff, it is highly likely that frontline services will be affected. Employers have to make cuts and drive cost savings, but they are also faced with increased demand for many frontline services, such as healthcare and education. The combination of pay scrutiny, fears around job security and critical media headlines means a stigma has started to develop around public sector careers. Many public sector workers are feeling demotivated, devalued and stuck in less challenging careers. The public sector needs to act now to address this before it is too late.”

Asked what areas they would improve to help attract professional staff to the public sector, employers and employees both reported pay and career development as the top two factors. Almost 70% of employers agree they need to review what they have to offer jobseekers so they are perceived more positively, with over a third (38%) saying this is an urgent priority.

Andy Robling continues: “Employers in the public sector would do well to focus on areas they can have an effect on, such as providing a clear career path and training. The main reason people come to work in the public sector is the desire to make a difference to society. Employers have to make sure they are showing how important the roles are if they want to attract and motivate staff.”

For further information and access to jobs, visit www.hays.co.uk/publicservices.

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About the research:

The Hays Public Sector Perceptions Survey 2011 spoke to 1039 public sector workers and 603 employers in the UK during April 2011. The respondents comprised management, frontline and back office staff, as well as hiring managers and line managers, from across a wide range of public sector organisations.

About Hays

Hays plc, the leading global specialist recruitment group, is the 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

For further press information please contact:
Keir Bosley, CHA
T. 020 7580 7025
E. keir.bosley@chapr.co.uk

Claire Fowler, Hays
T. 020 7259 8821
E. claire.s.fowler@hays.com

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