Headlines: January 19th, 2004

As more staff are taken on to meet Government pledges to improve services, the public sector is increasingly seen as a good place to work. A survey by Manpower shows public sector organisations lead the way in offering benefits, such as time off in lieu, flexi time and working from home, to promote work life balance. Andy Williams, Director of Operations for Manpower said: “Although most organisations have good work/life balance benefit policies in place, the public sector tops work life balance policies offered in other sectors. As a result, it is succeeding in attracting quality employees and is retaining its workforce.”The manpower quarterly survey of employment prospects showed the Net Employment Outlook for the public sector is +11%. This is the balance of employers forecasting to take on more staff. The comparative figure for the private sector is 9%. Education and health are among the sub categories predicting increased demand for staff.

The greater attraction of public sector jobs is not solving recruitment problems in some areas and with national pay rates that cannot be supplemented, other ways are being sought to compete for the better staff. There is a growing trend to offer healthcare as a part of a recruitment package and healthcare providers are stepping up their marketing.

The tightness of the jobs market is set to continue with figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that in the quarter up to November 2003 there were 41,000 more people in jobs in the UK than in the previous quarter. This is 186,000 higher than a year ago.