Public sector recruitment set to flatline after rise earlier this year

Recruitment to the public sector looks set to flatline in the next three months, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook survey published on Tuesday, after rising earlier this year.

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By Suzannah.Brecknell

13 Dec 2013

The survey asks employers whether they intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter. It shows that the employment outlook for the public sector is at 0% for the first three months of 2014, compared to an average of +5% for employers across all sectors.

This is a drop from a high of 7% in the second quarter of 2013, but still higher than the first three months of 2013, when the outlook was -3%.

Nick Heckscher, ManpowerGroup’s sector director for government, said the rise earlier this year was a “blip” as the public sector goes through “waves” of job losses and organisational change.

The first wave, he said, came in 2011 and 2012 – which saw a negative employment outlook in the public sector.

“During 2013 we probably felt a slight readjustment – in some cases people had let too many people go and in other cases they will have let the wrong skills go,” he said, but “we anticipated this to be a little blip in a general downward trend.”

Hecksher also noted that the picture of flat recruitment may be overly positive, saying that “winter pressures”, meaning the seasonal rise in NHS recruitment to cover the winter months, may be pulling the public sector average up.

Speaking of the civil service he said that the rate of job reduction appears to have slowed, but “it probably has to accelerate a bit given some of the targets and plans that have been stated” in recent budget announcements.

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