By Vivienne Russell (this article first appeared on www.publicfinance.co.uk)
Hiring in the public sector has received a surprise boost after several depressed quarters, according to recruiters Manpower.
The group’s survey of UK employers’ hiring intentions for the next quarter found that the public sector had moved ‘firmly into positive territory’ with a ‘net employment outlook’ of +7%. This is calculated by subtracting employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff.
Nick Heckscher, Manpower’s sector director for government, said the jump in public sector hiring intentions was not entirely unexpected.
‘Despite a downward trend over the past few years, we are seeing a spike in recruitment as the sector tries to get the balance of its post-austerity workforce right,’ he said.
‘We attribute this shift this quarter to the fact that some organisations have released too many staff too soon, or that in some cases their downsizing has led to the talent they might have preferred to retain choosing to leave.’
In particular, Heckscher said, hiring was picking up in ambulance service call centres and for senior project-based roles, caused by a change of emphasis from service delivery to commissioning.
‘Commercial, procurement and change management skills are in demand,’ he noted.
Overall, the UK recorded a net employment outlook of +6% for Quarter 2, unchanged from Quarter 1. Business and finance services was a particularly strong sector with an outlook of +13%.
But Manpower also said recruitment black spots still remained, particularly in construction, which had an outlook of –11%. The construction sector has recorded a negative outlook in every quarter of the past five years.