Headlines: October 31st, 2005

Public sector employment has risen every year from 1998 and in June 2005 it reached 5,846,000. This was an increase over the period of 11.6%. The private sector increase was 5.7%. The figures are published in report from the Office for National Statistics, ‘Public Sector Employment Trends 2005’. The savings required by the Gershon efficiency review which recommended cuts in the civil service and other back-office jobs across the public sector appear to have stopped the growth trend.A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that there are employers in the public sector who expect to employ more staff, but these increases are entirely offset by those expecting to employ fewer people. In the current year local councils intend to make efficiency gains exceeding 1.1 billion pounds according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. Over half of the efficiencies are being sought from individual service departments such as Social Services, and the remainder from activities either supporting or cutting across several direct services to the public.

The report from the Office for National Statistics also provides a profile of the public sector workforce. Women make up 65 per cent of workers compared to 41 per cent of private sector workers. Around 30 per cent of public sector workers worked part-time, compared with 24 per cent of private sector workers. The public sector workforce is older than the private sector workforce. Some 72 per cent of public sector workers were aged 35 and over compared with 62 per cent of private sector workers. Public sector workers are more likely to stay longer with their employers. Some 57 per cent of public sector workers had been with their current employer for five years or more, compared with 45 per cent of private sector workers.