Headlines: May 6th, 2010

Although none of the political parties have given details of how they would cut public sector budgets they are all agreed that the cuts will be severe. Taking out posts in any organisation always creates work and Hays, a leading global specialist recruiting group, believes that public bodies are not yet geared up to the task.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development estimates that there could be as many as half a million job losses. The Institute’s conclusion is based on a survey which also revealed that job satisfaction in the public sector has hit a new low of +34% compared to +45% this time last year, with rising levels of job insecurity and an increase in work pressure likely to be the main culprits. Nearly one in five of public sector workers now think it likely they could lose their job as result of the economic climate, compared with just 7 per in April 2009. Almost four in ten public sector employees say their organisation is planning to make redundancies, up from 14 per cent a year ago.

Hayes believes that there is an urgent need for the HR community and line managers in the public sector to step up and help employees cope with the changes ahead, and support them in finding new roles. The evidence to date suggests that they may be under-resourced to handle redundancies.

Now is the time for the public sector to think about ways to support staff both emotionally and practically during this period of transition. As well as identifying ways to redeploy staff, they may need to offer opportunities to retrain and provide advice and counselling. Job cuts may be the right solution, but they can cause greater problems further down the line if employers do not take steps to protect their employer brand by using career transition services.